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Who is Galileo Galileo? Italian philosopher who shaped our understanding of the stars


Few characters shine as brightly as GalileoItalian philosopher whose contributions to astronomy revolutionized the understanding of the stars.

“Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) has always played a key role in any history of science, as well as in many histories of philosophy. He is – otherwise THE – central figure of the scientific revolution of the 17th century,” we can read in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Born in Pisa, Italy, on February 15, 1564, Galileo’s insatiable curiosity and relentless quest for knowledge propelled him to the forefront of scientific research. during the Renaissance.

  1. Galileo’s early life and education
  2. Groundbreaking scientific discoveries
  3. Catholic controversy and confrontation
  4. Galileo’s legacy


1. Galileo’s early life and education

Galileo’s journey began in Renaissance Italy, at the University of Pisa, where he first studied medicine, but soon found his true calling in mathematics and natural philosophy.

His need to learn led him to explore various fields, including physics, engineering and astronomy. However, due to financial constraints, he left the University of Pisa without completing his degree, explains

The astronomer Galileo

A portrait of the Italian physicist, mathematician and astronomer Galileo Galilei (1564-1642). (Archival montage/Getty Images)

Galileo continued his self-directed studies and expanded his knowledge in various fields.

Despite financial difficulties, Galileo’s quest for knowledge and passion for science paved the way for his later achievements.

2. Groundbreaking scientific discoveries

In 1609, Galileo built his first telescope, where he made a series of astonishing discoveries that forever changed our perception of the universe.

On January 7, 1610, Galileo discovered the moons of Jupiter, making it the first observation of this planet.

He used his telescope to identify four of the moons orbiting Jupiter, examine Saturn, observe the different phases of Venus and scan sunspots. on the surface of the sun. The four moons and largest satellites of Jupiter are Lo, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto.

“While observing the sun, Galileo saw a series of “imperfections”. “He had discovered sunspots. Monitoring these spots on the sun demonstrated that the sun was in fact rotating. Additionally, later observations by Francesco Sizzi in 1612 suggested that the spots on the sun actually changed over time,” explains the Library of Congress.

Italian museum to display fingers and tooth believed to be Galileo’s

3. Catholic controversy and confrontation

Galileo was ordered to appear before the Holy Office to face charges related to his defense of the Copernican theory and his belief in the movement of the Earth around the sun, a position Catholic Church deemed heretical.

This marked Galileo’s second confrontation in rejecting Church doctrine that positioned the Earth as the unmoving center of the universe.

Galileo Galilei before the Inquisition

Galileo Galilei, Italian mathematician, astronomer and physicist, before the Inquisition. Galileo was placed under house arrest and became blind in 1637. (Bettmann/Getty Images)

“In 1616, Galileo had been forbidden from holding or defending his beliefs. During interrogation in 1633, he denied ‘believing’ in the Copernican view, but continued to write on the issue and the evidence as a means of ‘discussion’ rather than belief,” according to

Undeterred by persecution, Galileo continued his astronomical research, publishing “Dialogue Concerning the Two Principal World Systems” in 1632. The book presented a vigorous defense of heliocentrism and angered church authorities.

In 1633, Galileo faced the Inquisition and was convicted of heresy and sentenced to house arrest by Pope Urban VIII for the rest of his life, explains.

Italian museum to display fingers and tooth believed to be Galileo’s

Galileo Galilei using a telescope

Galileo Galilei identified four of the moons orbiting Jupiter, examined Saturn, observed the different phases of Venus, and scrutinized sunspots on the sun’s surface. (Hulton Archives/Getty Images)

4. Galileo’s legacy

Galileo’s contributions to physics, mathematics, and astronomy have spanned the ages, earning him a rightful place among history’s greatest minds. Nearly 70 years old at the time of his trial, Galileo spent his last nine years comfortably under house arrest, while writing a summary of his early experiences.

In 2018, British researchers said they found a long-lost letter written by Galileo that shows he engaged in a little deception to fend off the Inquisition.

Galileo wrote to a friend in 1613 to say that he believed the Earth revolved around the sun, not the other way around. He was sneaky and asked his friend for the original spine, so he could soften it after a brother passed it to the Inquisition.


“He died in Arcetri near Florence, Italy, on January 8, 1642, at the age of 77, from heart palpitations and fever,” explains.

As we gaze at the stars, let us remember the man whose dedication to truth shaped the course of scientific questions for centuries to come.


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