The first astronomical use of the telescope

Portrait of Galileo
Image credit: Justus Sustermans
Date:15 November 2009 Tags:

2009 commemorates the 400th anniversary of the first astronomical use of the telescope by Galileo in 1609. Early in 1616, Galileo was accused of being a heretic, a person who opposed Church teachings. Heresy was a crime for which people were sometimes sentenced to death. Galileo was cleared of charges of heresy, but was told that he should no longer publicly state his belief that Earth moved around the Sun. Galileo continued his study of astronomy and became more and more convinced that all planets revolved around the Sun. In 1632, he published a book that stated, among other things, that the heliocentric theory of Copernicus was correct. Galileo was once again called before the Inquisition and this time was found guilty of heresy. Galileo was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1633. Because of his age and poor health, he was allowed to serve his imprisonment under house arrest. Galileo died on 8 January 1642.
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