Weather and Time

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Random facts

This may not interest you, but it did me and I am hoping you will read this.:)

Galileo Galilei was born in Pisa, Italy on February 15, 1564. He was the oldest of seven children. His father was a musician and wool trader, who wanted his son to study medicine as there was more money in medicine. At age eleven, Galileo was sent off to study in a Jesuit monastery.
After four years, Galileo had announced to his father that he wanted to be a monk. This was not exactly what father had in mind, so Galileo was hastily withdrawn from the monastery. In 1581, at the age of 17, he entered the University of Pisa to study medicine, as his father wished.
At age twenty, Galileo noticed a lamp swinging overhead while he was in a cathedral. Curious to find out how long it took the lamp to swing back and forth, he used his pulse to time large and small swings. Galileo discovered something that no one else had ever realized: the period of each swing was exactly the same. The law of the pendulum, which would eventually be used to regulate clocks, made Galileo Galilei instantly famous.

I was learning about Galileo in my Reading, it was mainly about him and how he discovered the telescope. I was very interested. This is just a little of the beginning of his life.

Except for mathematics, Galileo Galilei was bored with university. Galileo's family was informed that their son was in danger of flunking out. A compromise was worked out, where Galileo would be tutored full-time in mathematics by the mathematician of the Tuscan court. Galileo's father was hardly overjoyed about this turn of events, since a mathematician's earning power was roughly around that of a musician, but it seemed that this might yet allow Galileo to successfully complete his college education. However, Galileo soon left the University of Pisa without a degree.

This is what I was learning about:

In Venice on a holiday in 1609, Galileo Galilei heard rumors that a Dutch spectacle-maker had invented a device that made distant objects seem near at hand (at first called the spyglass and later renamed the telescope). A patent had been requested, but not yet granted, and the methods were being kept secret, since it was obviously of tremendous military value for Holland.

Galileo Galilei was determined to attempt to construct his own spyglass. After a frantic 24 hours of experimentation, working only on instinct and bits of rumors, never having actually *seen* the Dutch spyglass, he built a 3-power telescope. After some refinement, he brought a 10-power telescope to Venice and demonstrated it to a highly impressed Senate. His salary was promptly raised, and he was honored with proclamations.

Galileo Galilei - The Moon

If he had stopped here, and become a man of wealth and leisure, Galileo Galilei might be a mere footnote in history. Instead, a revolution started when, one fall evening, the scientist trained his telescope on an object in the sky that all people at that time believed must be a perfect, smooth, polished heavenly body--the Moon. To his astonishment, Galileo Galilei viewed a surface that was uneven, rough, and full of cavities and prominences. Many people insisted that Galileo Galilei was wrong. Some of their arguments were very clever, like the mathematician who insisted that even if Galileo was seeing a rough surface on the Moon, that only meant that the entire moon had to be covered in invisible, transparent, smooth crystal.

Galileo Galilei - Jupiter

Months passed, and his telescopes improved. On January 7, 1610, he turned his 30 power telescope towards Jupiter, and found three small, bright stars near the planet. One was off to the west, the other two were to the east, all three in a straight line. The following evening, Galileo once again took a look at Jupiter, and found that all three of the "stars" were now west of the planet, still in a straight line! Observations over the following weeks lead Galileo to the inescapable conclusion that these small "stars" were actually small satellites that were rotating about Jupiter. If there were satellites that didn't move around the Earth, wasn't it possible that the Earth was not the center of the universe? Couldn't the Copernican idea of the Sun at the center of the solar system be correct?

The Starry Messenger

Galileo Galilei published his findings--as a small book titled The Starry Messenger. 550 copies were published in March of 1610, to tremendous public acclaim and excitement.

Galileo Galilei - Saturn

And there were more discoveries via the new telescope: the appearance of bumps next to the planet Saturn (Galileo thought they were companion stars; the "stars" were actually the edges of Saturn's rings), spots on the Sun's surface (though others had actually seen the spots before), and seeing Venus change from a full disk to a sliver of light.

However, Galileo was found innocent of all charges, and cautioned not to teach the Copernican system. 16 years later, all that would change.

The Church eventually lifted the ban on Galileo's Dialogue in 1822--by that time, it was common knowledge that the Earth was not the center of the Universe. Still later, there were statements by the Vatican Council in the early 1960's and in 1979 that implied that Galileo was pardoned, and that he had suffered at the hands of the Church. Finally, in 1992, three years after Galileo Galilei's namesake had been launched on its way to Jupiter, the Vatican formally and publicly cleared Galileo of any wrongdoing.

Other facts: Galileo became blind and died not much later. He was disappointed that he could not see because everything he discovered was with his eyes. 

Just saying not all of this goes through his whole History, I just put some in.


  1. Sarah, this was very interesting! Did you know we have an entire book of Gallileo in the book case? It is really a good book. I bet you would enjoy reading it!

  2. That's a great idea mom! I might just look at it!:)

  3. Hey,this is what we were studying not even a month ago!
    That's cool.


Comments by People Who Care