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Galileo Galilee

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modern history
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Boston College

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  1. Introduction
  2. Theories about a geocentric or Earth-centered universe that dominated the field
  3. Aristotle: The heavens were composed of a fifth element
  4. The field of Astronomy
  5. The astronomical discoveries Galileo made
  6. The very idea of a heliocentric view of the solar system
  7. Conclusion
  8. Works cited

Galileo Galilee's advancements in astronomy forever changed the way the Western world viewed itself. His support of the heliocentric theory in Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief Systems- Ptolemaic and Copernican published in 1632 included new advancements in Nikolai Copernicus' theory. Though these ideas had great scientific implications, the philosophical effects were just as important and far more widespread. The Holy Catholic Church staunchly supported the geocentric version and had previously condemned Copernicus' De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium ("On the Revolutions of the Celestial Orbs").

[...] To improve on this Galileo learned how to grind and polish his own lenses and by August 1609 he had an instrument with a magnification of around eight or nine.[3] By the end of 1609 Galileo had turned his telescope on the night sky and began to make remarkable discoveries. He observed mountains on the moon, sunspots on the Sun, and tiny objects orbiting the planet Jupiter. Noel Swerdlow, a prominent scientist, wrote, about two months, December and January, he made more discoveries that changed the world than anyone has ever made before or since.?[4] The astronomical discoveries Galileo made with his telescopes were described in a short book called the Starry Messenger published in Venice in May 1610. [...]


[...] The advancement of the telescope by Galileo himself provided scientists with the means to prove that he had been right all along. With each subsequent improvement on the device, the telescope became the primary instrument for astronomers to study the stars and planets. Galileo advanced the field of astronomy further than any man who came before or after. He advanced the view of Copernicus and forced the world to come to grips with the truth. Even though his work inflamed many scholars and religious leaders, Galileo was able to come to terms with his religion and science. [...]

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