Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Galileo's Telescope

At a first glance when I visited 'Google' today I realised that the logo (Google Doodle) has changed and I was wondering what kind of special occasion that they were celebrating today. I pointed to the logo and found the answer...and it's "Galileo's telescope reaches 400th anniversary". Follow this article for further information.

It is 400 years since Galileo Galilei demonstrated his telescope, which would lead him to make new astronomical observations.

Galileo's telescope helped the astronomer to learn more about our solar system.
This is a reconstruction of the telescope.
Photograph: Jim Sugar/Corbis

While many people have been loudly celebrating this year's double commemoration of 200 years since Charles Darwin's birth and 150 years since the publication of On the Origin of Species, another scientific anniversary has crept up relatively quietly, marking an event which arguably changed human thought and the way we see ourselves even more irrevocably.

Exactly 400 years ago today, on 25 August 1609, the Italian astronomer and philosopher Galilei Galileo showed Venetian merchants his new creation, a telescope – the instrument that was to bring him both scientific immortality and, more immediately, a whole lot of trouble.

A refinement of models first devised in the Netherlands, Galileo's slim, brown stick was puny even by the standards of something one might buy in hobby shop today. But his eight-powered telescope, and the more powerful models he soon produced, when pointed skywards led Galileo to a series of groundbreaking conclusions.

The moon was not, as long believed, completely smooth. Another planet, Jupiter, also had moons. Meanwhile Venus showed a range of moon-like phases, something which could not happen if both it and the sun orbited the earth.

This latter phenomenon had been predicted by Nicolaus Copernicus when, nearly a century before, he had proposed the notion of a planetary system with the sun at the centre, not the earth.

Galileo's discoveries were, perhaps predictably, not best welcomed by the Catholic church, and he spent the final decade of his life under house arrest.

It was certainly a revelation which upset the orthodoxies – and the churches – at least as much as Darwin's, and perhaps merits a bit more of fuss, although museum-goers in Philadelphia and Stockholm can view one of Galileo's very early telescopes, on loan this year from Florence. A good deal more people are likely to be alerted thanks to Google's day-long adaptation of their main page logo to a Google Doodle in honour of the event.


214_aTiRiAnZ!!!! said...

hmmm...miss what discovery of galileo that the against to the catholic church???...coz i was a little bit confused...about this

Freda Jane said...

Mikee, I was a bit vague about it but based on the article his discovery made a series of groundbreaking predictable conclusions and a revelation which upset the orthodoxies. Based on the world history during Galileo's days, The Catholic Church was the ruler and some were against them, thus the Protestants arise..

mikee michelle said...

hmmm...i think i need to read more about galileo co'z im already curious about his life...hehehe...Btw miz thnx for some information...(",><<