114: Galileo forced to recant

Portrait of Galileo Galilei, 1636 by Justus Sustermans (via Wikimedia)

On June 22, 1633, Galileo Galilei was forced to recant his theory that the sun, and not the earth, is the center of the universe.

Here are a few facts about Galileo that you may not have known:

First, Galileo was born in 1564 in Pisa, Italy. He invented the thermometer, improved the telescope and made several advances in astronomy with the telescope, including the discovery of the four largest moons of Jupiter.

Second: While Galileo was correct that the universe does not revolve around the Earth, he was wrong about several things. First, it’s only our solar system that revolves around the sun, not the universe. Also, he disagreed with Johannes Kepler’s idea that the moon caused tidal changes on earth. He also dismissed the idea of the elliptical orbit of planets.

Third, In 1616, Galileo was ordered to stop supporting the idea of a sun-centered universe. He did so until 1632, when he published “Dialogue Concerning the Two World Systems.” After which, he was found “vehemently suspect of heresy,” and ordered to renounce his previous writings. He was sentenced to house arrest, where he remained for the rest of his life. He died in 1642 at the age of 77.

Our question, which is really more of an order: Name the four moons of Jupiter discovered by Galileo.

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