Pisa: Street art, sidewalk chalk portrait of Galileo Galilei. In Italy pavement artists can transform ordinary sidewalks in real works of art.Getty

On this night in 1609, astronomer Galileo Galilei trained his telescope on the Moon for the first time. What he saw would overturn an ancient model of the universe.

In 1609, most European scientists and philosophers saw the universe almost exactly as the Greek philosopher Aristotle described it in the third century BCE: Earth was the corrupt, ever-changing realm of mortal life, and the celestial bodies were unchanging, smooth, perfect spheres. Obviously, the Moon’s surface isn’t uniformly pale and glowing; darker patches are visible even with the unaided eye. Aristotle blamed Earth and its corruption for contaminating the Moon, our nearest celestial neighbor. Later philosophers suggested that the dark patches came from variations in the density of the material that made up the Moon.

But when Galileo watched the Moon through his telescope, he noticed something. In the patterns of light and shadow along the terminator — the line between the illuminated day side of the Moon and the shadowed night side, which moves just like it does on Earth — smaller patterns of light and shadow stood out in stark relief. (If you look at the Moon through a good set of modern bincoluars, you’ll notice the same thing.) Those smaller shadows could, perhaps, still have been explained away by the “density” argument, but as Galileo watched the distant shadows on the Moon’s surface, he saw them changing, and he knew that he was seeing something important. The width of the shadows changed along with the angle of the sunlight hitting the Moon, just like shadows here on Earth shorten as the Sun rises high in the sky at midday and lengthen as it drops toward the horizon in the late afternoon. That could only mean that physical features on the Moon’s surface were actually casting the shadows.

Astronomers in Galileo’s day didn’t have cameras to mount on their telescopes, so they had to be excellent sketch artists.Galileo Galilei, Sidereus Nuncius, public domain

Galileo wasn’t the first person to propose that the Moon might have terrain similar to Earth. In the first century CE, the philosopher Plutarch had described mountains and valleys on the Moon back in the first century CE, and suggested that, like Earth, the Moon was inhabited. But Aristotle’s view held sway until Galileo’s observations came along to challenge it.

A few months before Galileo’s late November observations, on July 26, 1609, English astronomer Thomas Harriot also studied the Moon through a telescope, but he seems not to have drawn any particular conclusions based on what he saw, and he didn’t publish his drawings or notes. Galileo, on the other hand, published his sketches and conclusions in his 1610 work Sidereus Nuncius. The claim sparked some debate, but the Church quickly accepted the idea of uneven terrain on the Moon.

But another idea Galileo published in Sidereus Nuncius landed Galileo in trouble with the Church. He supported the radical idea that Earth and the other planets revolve around the Sun, challenging the accepted doctrine that God had placed Earth at the center of everything — and he dared to stick to his guns. In the early 1600s, that amounted to heresy, and Galileo’s refusal to back down landed him a sentence of house arrest for life. Today, of course, the radical claims that Galileo first made in Sidereus Nuncius are the foundation of our understanding of how solar systems work: planets orbit stars, and other worlds follow the same laws of physics and geology as Earth.

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(******** )Pisa: Street art, walkway chalk picture of Galileo Galilei. In Italy pavement artists can change common walkways in genuine masterpieces. Getty

On this night in 1609, astronomer Galileo Galilei trained his telescope on the Moon for the very first time. What he saw would reverse an ancient design of deep space.

In 1609, the majority of European researchers and theorists saw deep space nearly precisely as the Greek theorist Aristotle explained it in the 3rd century BCE: Earth was the corrupt, ever-changing world of mortal life, and the heavenly bodies were constant, smooth, best spheres. Clearly, the Moon’s surface area isn’t consistently pale and radiant; darker spots show up even with the unaided eye. Aristotle blamed Earth and its corruption for infecting the Moon, our nearby celestial next-door neighbor. Later on theorists recommended that the dark spots originated from variations in the density of the product that comprised the Moon.

However when Galileo enjoyed the Moon through his telescope, he discovered something. In the patterns of light and shadow along the terminator– the line in between the brightened day side of the Moon and the shadowed night side, which moves much like it does in the world– smaller sized patterns of light and shadow stuck out in plain relief. (If you take a look at the Moon through an excellent set of contemporary bincoluars, you’ll observe the very same thing.) Those smaller sized shadows could, maybe, still have actually been rationalized by the “density” argument, however as Galileo enjoyed the far-off shadows on the Moon’s surface area, he saw them altering, and he understood that he was seeing something crucial. The width of the shadows altered together with the angle of the sunshine striking the Moon, much like shadows here in the world reduce as the Sun increases high in the sky at midday and extend as it drops towards the horizon in the late afternoon. That might just indicate that physical functions on the Moon’s surface area were in fact casting the shadows.

Astronomers in Galileo’s day didn’t have electronic cameras to install on their telescopes, so they needed to be exceptional sketch artists. Galileo Galilei, Sidereus Nuncius, public domain

Galileo wasn’t the very first individual to propose that the Moon may have surface comparable to Earth. In the very first century CE, the theorist Plutarch had actually explained mountains and valleys on the Moon back in the very first century CE, and recommended that, like Earth, the Moon was lived in. However Aristotle’s view held sway till Galileo’s observations occurred to challenge it.

A couple of months prior to Galileo’s late November observations, on July 26, 1609, English astronomer Thomas Harriot likewise studied the Moon through a telescope, however he appears not to have actually drawn any specific conclusions based upon what he saw, and he didn’t release his illustrations or notes. Galileo, on the other hand, released his sketches and conclusions in his 1610 work Sidereus Nuncius The claim stimulated some argument, however the Church rapidly accepted the concept of irregular surface on the Moon.

However another concept Galileo released in Sidereus Nuncius landed Galileo in problem with the Church. He supported the extreme concept that Earth and the other worlds focus on the Sun, challenging the accepted teaching that God had actually positioned Earth at the center of whatever– and he attempted to stay with his weapons. In the early 1600 s, that totaled up to heresy, and Galileo’s rejection to pull back landed him a sentence of home arrest for life. Today, naturally, the extreme claims that Galileo initially made in Sidereus Nuncius are the structure of our understanding of how planetary systems work: worlds orbit stars, and other worlds follow the very same laws of physics and geology as Earth.

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Pisa: Street art, walkway chalk picture of Galileo Galilei. In Italy pavement artists can change common walkways in genuine masterpieces. Getty

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On this night in 1609, astronomer Galileo Galilei trained his telescope on the Moon for the very first time. What he saw would reverse an ancient design of deep space.

In 1609, the majority of European researchers and theorists saw deep space nearly precisely as the Greek theorist Aristotle explained it in the 3rd century BCE: Earth was the corrupt, ever-changing world of mortal life, and the heavenly bodies were constant, smooth, best spheres. Clearly, the Moon’s surface area isn’t consistently pale and radiant; darker spots show up even with the unaided eye. Aristotle blamed Earth and its corruption for infecting the Moon, our nearby celestial next-door neighbor. Later on theorists recommended that the dark spots originated from variations in the density of the product that comprised the Moon.

However when Galileo enjoyed the Moon through his telescope, he discovered something. In the patterns of light and shadow along the terminator– the line in between the brightened day side of the Moon and the shadowed night side, which moves much like it does in the world– smaller sized patterns of light and shadow stuck out in plain relief. (If you take a look at the Moon through an excellent set of contemporary bincoluars, you’ll observe the very same thing.) Those smaller sized shadows could, maybe, still have actually been rationalized by the “density” argument, however as Galileo enjoyed the far-off shadows on the Moon’s surface area, he saw them altering, and he understood that he was seeing something crucial. The width of the shadows altered together with the angle of the sunshine striking the Moon, much like shadows here in the world reduce as the Sun increases high in the sky at midday and extend as it drops towards the horizon in the late afternoon. That might just indicate that physical functions on the Moon’s surface area were in fact casting the shadows.

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Astronomers in Galileo’s day didn’t have electronic cameras to install on their telescopes, so they needed to be exceptional sketch artists. Galileo Galilei, Sidereus Nuncius, public domain

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Galileo wasn’t the very first individual to propose that the Moon may have surface comparable to Earth. In the very first century CE, the theorist Plutarch had actually explained mountains and valleys on the Moon back in the very first century CE, and recommended that, like Earth, the Moon was lived in. However Aristotle’s view held sway till Galileo’s observations occurred to challenge it.

A couple of months prior to Galileo’s late November observations, on July 26, 1609, English astronomer Thomas Harriot likewise studied the Moon through a telescope, however he appears not to have actually drawn any specific conclusions based upon what he saw, and he didn’t release his illustrations or notes. Galileo, on the other hand, released his sketches and conclusions in his 1610 work Sidereus Nuncius The claim stimulated some argument, however the Church rapidly accepted the concept of irregular surface on the Moon.

However another concept Galileo released in Sidereus Nuncius landed Galileo in problem with the Church. He supported the extreme concept that Earth and the other worlds focus on the Sun, challenging the accepted teaching that God had actually positioned Earth at the center of whatever– and he attempted to stay with his weapons. In the early 1600 s, that totaled up to heresy, and Galileo’s rejection to pull back landed him a sentence of home arrest for life. Today, naturally, the extreme claims that Galileo initially made in Sidereus Nuncius are the structure of our understanding of how planetary systems work: worlds orbit stars, and other worlds follow the very same laws of physics and geology as Earth.

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