” Galileo Galilei ”

Title : Portrait of Galileo Galilei

Author: Justus Sustermans

Year: 1636

Medium: oil on canvas


Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) – Italian astronomer, scientist and philosopher, who played a leading role in the Scientific Revolution. Galileo improved the telescope and made many significant discoveries in astronomy. His findings encouraged him to speak out for the Copernican view that the earth revolved around the sun . His greatest scientific works included Two New Sciences about kinetics and the strength of materials.

By inventing the world’s first powerful telescope, Galileo was able to make many ground-breaking explorations of the universe. Galileo’s His telescopes increased magnification from around just 2x to around 30x magnification. Using this new telescope he found that:

  1. Saturn had a beautiful ring of clouds.
  2. The moon was not flat but had mountains and craters.
  3. Using his own telescope, he discovered four moons of Jupiter – Io, Ganymede, Callisto, and Europa. He also noted these moons revolved around Jupiter rather than the sun.

To support the theory of heliocentrism, Galileo had the mathematical proofs of Copernicus but also new proofs from the science of astronomy. However, Galileo knew that publishing these studies would bring the disapproval of the church authorities. Yet, he also felt a willingness to risk the church’s displeasure. Galileo stated: “The Bible shows the way to go to heaven, not the way the heavens go.”

Catholic Church considered Galileo’s ideas as heresy. At first they sentenced him to life in prison, but later allowed him to live at his home in Tuscany under house arrest. 

Galileo continued to write while under house arrest. In his later years he became blind. He died on January 8, 1642. 

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