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Space Science

400 Years Ago, Galileo Discovered Four Jovian Moons 161

Posted by kdawson
from the dwarfing-the-dwarf-planets dept.
krswan writes "OK, the moons themselves are much older, but on January 7, 1610 Galileo first observed '4 fixed stars' surrounding Jupiter. Observations of their changing positions led Galileo to postulate they were really moons orbiting Jupiter, which became further evidence against Aristotelian Cosmology, which led to problems with the Roman Catholic Church, etc... Jupiter will be low in the southwest (in the Northern Hemisphere) after sunset this evening — nothing else around it is as bright, so you can't miss it. Celebrate by pointing binoculars or a telescope at Jupiter and checking out the moons for yourself."
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400 Years Ago, Galileo Discovered Four Jovian Moons

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  • by FooAtWFU (699187) on Thursday January 07, 2010 @06:36PM (#30688668) Homepage
    Galileo!
  • Well! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Tablizer (95088) on Thursday January 07, 2010 @06:38PM (#30688684) Homepage Journal

    Talk about a late slashdot story

  • Jupiter will be low in the southwest (in the Northern Hemisphere) after sunset this evening — nothing else around it is as bright, so you can't miss it.

    I can miss it, because I'm living in the middle of a snow storm. Insensitive clod, etc.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by MichaelSmith (789609)

      Jupiter will be low in the southwest (in the Northern Hemisphere) after sunset this evening — nothing else around it is as bright, so you can't miss it.

      I can miss it, because I'm living in the middle of a snow storm. Insensitive clod, etc.

      You live on Titan?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by volcanopele (537152)
        When does it snow on Titan? Rain, yes. Lots of Rain, sure. A gentle drizzle from the stratosphere, why not? But, nope, no snow... not cold enough for methane or ethane to fall as snow on Titan, even at the winter pole.
      • by smchris (464899)

        You live on Titan?

        Close enough. Minnesota here.

        Yeah, clear skies are about a day off.

        Folks should remember to catch the Mars opposition in a couple weeks too.

  • by FooAtWFU (699187) on Thursday January 07, 2010 @06:44PM (#30688766) Homepage

    which became further evidence against Aristotelian Cosmology, which led to problems with the Roman Catholic Church

    To be fair, he also came up with this crazy-wrong idea about how the earth's motion was responsible for the tides. Also, making fun of any 17th-century Italian nobleman (Pope or otherwise) by naming a character in your book "Simpleton" (Simplicio) and strongly implying that you based it off of him.... after he's trying to give you a chance and says "write it up, try to fairly represent both points of view, okay?" ... Well, that's the just sort of social/political ineptitude that's going to get you into serious trouble. (Think of that next time you stumble into office politics.)

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MichaelSmith (789609)

      While that publication may have been clear Flamebait is seems he was an established author [wikipedia.org] at the time, which should have counted in has favour. A bit like wanting to execute Carl Sagan because of his TV show.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      To be fair, he also came up with this crazy-wrong idea about how the earth's motion was responsible for the tides.

      To be fair, that's not entirely wrong. If the Earth rotated at different speeds the tides would be observably different.

      • by sznupi (719324)

        Plus it's not unheard of to count Earth-Moon system as a double planet. Movements of which...

    • by Rei (128717)

      Quite true. Coperincus had a lot more tact, and kept out of trouble largely thanks to that. Galileo even went so far as to personally try to interpret scripture to match his theory.

      • by agbinfo (186523)

        even went so far as to personally try to interpret scripture to match his theory.

        Isn't that what every good Christian is supposed to do? :-)

      • Not quite correct (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Kupfernigk (1190345) on Friday January 08, 2010 @06:04AM (#30692356)
        I'm an admirer of Copernicus (my nick is his actual name) and the story is a lot more complicated than that. During the writing of de Revolutionibus Orbium Caelestium, Kupfernigk discovered that, owing to the greater accuracy of observations available to him, his system was becoming just as complicated as that of Ptolemaus. He was, as a good pre-scientist, well aware that he was building a mathematical structure on a theory which, like String Theory now, wasn't really testable. He was also living in a much more backward culture than was Galileo. His caution is natural.

        The Eastern bloc was more backward even then. Kepler has to return in a hurry to Regensberg at one point to defend his mother who was accused of witchcraft. Galileo on the other hand was a very important man, the top technical expert in Florence, the public face of the most advanced science of the day. He was the equivalent of Edison, Fermi, Einstein and Feynman rolled into one. Of course he thought he could push his views further than could much lesser academics. We need Galileos to stand up to be counted in a world where people can take a Sarah Palin seriously.

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday January 07, 2010 @07:10PM (#30688984) Journal
      To be fair to the pope, Galileo was a bit of a prick.

      To be fair to everybody who isn't a medieval reactionary, the pope used state power against Galileo just because of an argument they were having.


      That's the thing. It isn't that the pope is the villain of the piece because he opposed a specific idea, it is that the pope is the villain of the piece because he stands for everyone who is willing to meet criticism with force, which is ultimately far more important than being on the wrong side of a single scientific dispute. Had Galileo been a crackpot, with some absurd turtle-based cosmology, the pope would still have been the villain(though Galileo would have been the comic relief, rather than the hero).

      Even a cursory glance at the history of science suggests that, at any given time, most people(laymen or scientists) are wrong about enormous amounts of stuff and, where they are right, it is mostly because somebody else figured it out for them. Being on the wrong side of a scientific debate is not a character flaw or a sin. Using force instead of reason is both.
      • by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Thursday January 07, 2010 @07:37PM (#30689196)

        To be fair to the pope, Galileo was a bit of a prick. To be fair to everybody who isn't a medieval reactionary, the pope used state power against Galileo just because of an argument they were having. .

        The thing is that before Galileo published the book that called the Pope a simpleton, the Pope was Galileo's friend. Galileo was having a heated and nasty dispute with a scientific rival. This rival had connections in the Catholic Church that he turned to because Galileo was a prick and gratuitously insulted the rival. Galileo basically said, Nyah, nyah, nyah. the Pope's my friend. The Pope trumps your Bishop." The Pope said, "You are my friend, but these are powerful people. We need to tone down the rhetoric and get everybody to cool down. Galileo, you're the smartest guy I know. Write a book that makes the best case possible for both sides of the argument and I will get these guys off your back."br. Galileo wrote a book that made the Pope out to be a fool and called everybody who disagreed with Galileo on anything an idiot. If Galileo and his rival's positions on Heliocentrism had been reversed, the only thing that would have been different about Galileo's story is that very few people would have ever heard of him.

        • Wow, somebody else is pointing out other things that got left out when people talk about the Saint of Science. On top of what you've added the church actually updated their position to the Tychonic model. (Where the Sun and Moon orbit the Earth and the planets orbit the Sun.) The big problem with the Earth going around the Sun is the stars should exibit parallax. There's a few explainations for this. One is the Earth moves but the stars are so far away that they couldn't measure it. The other is it's not ac
          • by misanthrope101 (253915) on Friday January 08, 2010 @03:00AM (#30691504)

            "Wow, somebody else is pointing out other things that got left out when people talk about the Saint of Science."

            The issue isn't that Galileo was a saint, but that he had to recant under threat of torture. He's become a symbol of a time when religious powers told people what they could say, under threat of torture, prison, or death. When people exaggerate how great Galileo really was, what they're really saying is that they're thankful that part of history is behind us. Whether you love James Dobson or cringe at his name, I don't know anyone who would want to empower him with the authority to have someone tortured and killed because they published a scientific paper, right or wrong, that went against his religious views. We should all be thankful that our culture has moved beyond that.

            • I mean that's part of the point. He was using political connections at the time to get his point of view across. (A point of view that btw he had no evidence for.) While we have advanced from that time it wasn't just that the church could do that, if you played politics at all at that time it could turn out very badly for you. (I mean like it's been pointed out he didn't really get into trouble until he basically called his buddy the Pope "Mr Stupid". He screwed with the political connection he used to get
  • haha (Score:5, Funny)

    by digitalsushi (137809) <slashdot@digitalsushi.com> on Thursday January 07, 2010 @06:45PM (#30688772) Journal

    "By Jove, another moon!"

  • I saw them myself... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dwiget001 (1073738) on Thursday January 07, 2010 @06:56PM (#30688872)

    ... back in 1985, while underway on my ship in the U.S. Navy, middle of the Indian Ocean.

    I was off watch, and went and visited a Signalman friend up above the wheel house. They had a set of huge binoculars, which they called "big eyes". The sky was crystal clear, you could clearly see the bands of the Milky Way across the sky. Found Jupiter and zoomed in as far as I could, and clearly saw some of the moons around it. It was a neat experience seeing them myself for the first time.

    • You don't need a huge pair (of binoculars) to see them. I've used a good quality set of Celestron 10x50's.
    • by initialE (758110)

      It's a sad point for me that I only got to see a really starry night once in my life, in the middle of the south china sea, and I'm not likely to see it ever again. The dark skies project may sound nice and all, but it's unlikely to ever come to reality.

  • by Megahard (1053072) on Thursday January 07, 2010 @07:06PM (#30688940)
    That's no moon!
  • by volcanopele (537152) on Thursday January 07, 2010 @07:09PM (#30688960)
    Definitely a good time to check out Jupiter and the four Galilean moons before conjunction which happens in the next couple of months, so Jupiter would then be too close to the Sun.

    A minor quibble with the summary above. On January 7, 1610, Galileo only recorded 3 "fixed stars" next to Jupiter. Two of the Galilean moons, Io and Europa, were too close together for Galileo to separate with his 20x power telescope. [blogspot.com] He continued to observe three moons at most, either because one or more moons were too close to Jupiter and were lost in the glare of the planet, Callisto was too far from Jupiter and was thus out of his telescope's field-of-view, or two of the moons were too close together, during subsequent nights, until January 13, when he was able to see all four for the first time.

    Wikipedia is wrong on one point. True, his first observation of all four moon at once didn't come until January 13 and he didn't realize that there were four and not three until that time, but that doesn't mean that one moon's discovery (in Wikipedia's case, Ganymede) should be attributed to that date. By that point, he had observed all four on multiple occasions, just not all four at once. And to that point he hadn't even come to the conclusion that they were in orbit around Jupiter with their own separate orbits, moving a different speeds, until two days later, let alone ascribe identities to each of the stars he saw, connecting one star he saw with another from a different day, beyond the one to the east, the one to the west, and the one in the middle.

    • Definitely a good time to check out Jupiter and the four Galilean moons

      Yes it was - a beautiful view though at -24C outside it was a tad on the cold side! The moons were nicely balanced two on each side. Now my kids can say that they saw the Galilean satellites for the first time exactly 400 years after Galileo first saw (three of) them - thank you Slashdot!

    • by mdwh2 (535323)

      Which bit is Wikipedia wrong on?

  • by gillbates (106458) on Thursday January 07, 2010 @07:19PM (#30689080) Homepage Journal

    further evidence against Aristotelian Cosmology, which led to problems with the Roman Catholic Church, etc...

    I know that people who repeat such things are only showing their ignorance (heck, even Wikipedia explains the controversy better), but I feel this lie gets repeated often enough that it should be addressed.

    According to Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]:

    In its opening passage, Galileo and Guiducci's Discourse gratuitously insulted the Jesuit Christopher Scheiner,[56] and various uncomplimentary remarks about the professors of the Collegio Romano were scattered throughout the work.[57] The Jesuits were offended,[58] and Grassi soon replied with a polemical tract of his own, The Astronomical and Philosophical Balance ,[59] under the pseudonym Lothario Sarsio Sigensano,[60] purporting to be one of his own pupils.

    And later:

    Pope Urban VIII personally asked Galileo to give arguments for and against heliocentrism in the book,

    Indeed, it was Galileo's political antagonism, not his ideas, that got him trouble. Imagine that.

    There is a very simple question one can ask to determine if a someone is genuinely objective and dispassionate in their search for the truth:

    • Does the Church suppress science?

    The manner in which this question is answered is often quite revealing:

    1. Someone with no critical thinking skills, nor ability to understand anything but absolutes, will almost invariably mention Galileo and blame the Church for suppressing science and free thought. The irony, of course, is that it's a moot point: it hardly matters if free thought is suppressed when the speaker goes to considerable lengths to avoid doing so. Even though he may publicly laud free inquiry and study, he simply dismisses any source which disagrees with his predisposed notions of the world.
    2. Someone who answers that "there's no proof" that Galileo is correct is probably heading off on a tangent which will end in a discussion about evolution. Again, probably not a very insightful individual, but at least his own views are consistent with his internal model of the world.
    3. Someone who explains that while the Church did create the university system; and continues to fund science to this day; while also allowing that at times in the past it has been used for political ends is probably someone with a very educated opinion. He's demonstrated the ability to deal with concepts in varying degrees, and to understand the difference between a *political* objection, and a doctrinal one.

    In much the same way that there exist Creationists who refuse to accept any evidence contrary to their opinion, even to the point of committing logical fallacies, there exist individuals who really don't read history, and just blindly accept whatever they've been told. Worse, they often repeat things which are provably false, which - aside from the damage done to the Church - call into question their ability to think rationally and perform rigorous analysis.

    The Galileo fiasco - that is, the belief that the Church is somehow anti-science because of what happened to Galileo - is an interesting teaching moment. The outworn argument against Creationists, Flat-Earthers, Global-Warming deniers, etc... has always been that science is objective, dispassionate. And yet, in the Galileo fiasco, you have people who in matters of science are otherwise logical and objective, repeating something they know (or should know) is false.

    Interesting.

    It seems the failings of human nature apply to everyone, after all.

    • I've read extensively on the Galileo incident and I see no reason to change the the long accepted wisdom that it is a classic case of conflict between religious dogma and authority against scientific investigation..

      I have however encountered quite a large number of people who have been persuaded by recent post-modernist type logic that in fact no; it was perfect alright and indeed correct for the church to threaten to burn Galileo alive because either/or
      1) He was rude,
      2) His finding would overturn centuries of dogma
      3) Galileo's concrete observations were not good enough because he lacked the mathematics to describe them

      Needless to say, I find such arguments unconvincing.

      The Catholic church suppressed science. They threatened to kill Galileo and forced him to retract his theories. People often forget that last part. Galileo went to his grave holding that the Sun went around the Earth. You don't believe me? There's an official confession signed by him to that effect? You think he privately though otherwise? Tough; that confession is the end of the story. The church got what it wanted. Galileo and his works were suppressed.

      I don't know exactly where this new apologia for the churches behaviour in the Galileo affair comes from, but I suspect it has more to do with US Culture Wars than actual critical thinking. Ironic, as for years the Galileo affair was a classic incident that Protestants held as demonstrating the abusive and backward position of the Catholic church. It's unfortunate that the relevant Wikipedia pages have been dragged into such revisionism, and in so doing have given it far more credit than it deserves. That's just another problem with Wikipedia and its monopoly on knowledge and viewpoints, but I'll leave that rant for another day.

      • by dbIII (701233)
        It wasn't correct, but it's just why they did it. He was challenging the authority of the Pope at a time when Martin Luther was kicking up a fuss and he was easier to put down than Martin Luther. Even a few of the Cardinals agreed that Galileo was correct and voted against the Pope.
        It was really all about authoritarian politics.
      • by CheshireCatCO (185193) on Thursday January 07, 2010 @10:34PM (#30690320) Homepage

        Thank you, this exact issue has been pissing me off for quite a while now. There's been a rather substantial movement to retroactive validate the Church's behavior toward Galileo for about a decade (maybe more, but that's how long I've been watching it). Galileo wasn't the most politically astute or generous person to his enemies, but he also didn't deserve the stuff the Church sent at him. The folio with his Inquisition record, for example, was clearly tampered with, with documents clearly added into places to make them appear older than they were.

        In the end, Galileo's only defense should have been that his book was allowed by the Church censors. If there had been anything objectionable in it, they should have caught it and shot the book down. Failing that, they should have taken the blame, not Galileo.

        As for making Simplicio a parody of Pope Urban, the only thing I've ever heard of that indicates that this was the goal was one quote from Urban put into Simplicio's* mouth. One quote a parody does not make; it's more likely (in my mind, anyway) that Galileo was trying to address one of Urban's objections and was clumsy in how he presented it. (On the other hand, as soon as it was found in the book, Galileo's enemies in the Church went to the Pope to decry Galileo. Note that the Pope didn't get offended on his own, he was goaded into offense.)

        * Also note that the name was based on a real historical figure's name.

      • by Tyler Durden (136036) on Thursday January 07, 2010 @10:51PM (#30690420)

        Ironic, as for years the Galileo affair was a classic incident that Protestants held as demonstrating the abusive and backward position of the Catholic church.

        "People gave ear to an upstart astrologer who strove to show that the earth revolves, not the heavens or the firmament, the sun and the moon. Whoever wishes to appear clever must devise some new system, which of all systems is of course the very best. This fool wishes to reverse the entire science of astronomy; but sacred Scripture tells us that Joshua commanded the sun to stand still, and not the earth." -Martin Luther

        The Protestants were no better. They just didn't happen to have the political power to enforce their biblical-inerrancy induced idiocy at the time.

        • I have no particular attachment to Luther, but....

          This remark was an off-hand comment made out of ignorance years before Copernicus published his treatise. In general, Luther didn't have anything to say on the subject, so this is hardly representative of his views, and we really don't know what Luther's views were after the publication of the treatise (if he had any). Moreover, even this extreme comment (given that he had no detailed knowledge of Copernicus's theory) was merely a statement in line with
          • But in the quote I gave Luther is making an argument against the Copernican model based entirely on scripture. So this is absolutely an example of biblical-inerrancy induced idiocy. The Bible is an abysmal source when trying to figure out how nature works, and anyone who uses it as such is being foolish.

            Catholicism rejects biblical literalism. That church's idiocy at the time of Galileo was born of making the religion a dominating political power and an addiction to ponderous doctrine that was linked to

            • But in the quote I gave Luther is making an argument against the Copernican model based entirely on scripture. So this is absolutely an example of biblical-inerrancy induced idiocy. The Bible is an abysmal source when trying to figure out how nature works, and anyone who uses it as such is being foolish.

              I completely and absolutely agree with you that the Bible is an abysmal source for trying to understand physics or just about any other scientific matter, and perhaps anyone who uses it as such today could be considered foolish.

              But if you project that "foolish" argument back to Luther's time, you'd have to conclude that just about every practicing scientist of the day was foolish. To me, the word "foolish" implies someone acting in a way that reasonable people would consider stupid or idiotic. But if u

      • by iris-n (1276146)

        This, my dear, is trolling. It began with Feyerabend, the father of all trolls.

        But I actually like the current revisionism, because it makes Galileo a human character that people can relate to, instead of the perfect demigod that lit the torch of science.

        The point that he was a prick and played dirty is moot. His life was at stake, ffs.

        The point is that it was possible for a parallel government ruin a man's life for what he wrote in a book.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by gillbates (106458)

        The main problem I have with seeing it as a conflict between religious dogma and scientific investigation is that the Church waited almost a full century before acting, and when it did, it seemed almost reluctant. During the same time period, a person could be hanged for denying the Holy Trinity.

        1. Copernicus had proposed a heliocentric system almost a century before Galileo, and yet suffered no persecution by the Church because of it. Even Luther commented that his ideas were revolutionary.
        2. Tycho Brahe h
        • Stop talking sense! To make arguments like that, GP has proved that you must be a postmodern hack.

          Oh, wait -- your arguments do make some sense. And science is still left standing! In all seriousness, thanks for providing a nice balance of historical information and reasonable arguments.

          1. Copernicus had proposed a heliocentric system almost a century before Galileo, and yet suffered no persecution by the Church because of it. Even Luther commented that his ideas were revolutionary.

          Ha! And of course you're right, though my impression was that Luther was noncommittal. In an earlier comment in this thread, someone misrepresents him with a quote that I believe was made before Copernicus even publi

        • by catmistake (814204) on Friday January 08, 2010 @05:59AM (#30692338) Journal

          Copernicus had proposed a heliocentric system almost a century before Galileo, and yet suffered no persecution by the Church because of it.

          Ah, but this is only because Copernicus, a devoute Catholic, feared and respected the Church, recognized that his theories (which actually others had suggested before, though none would take credit (blame) for them) would be disruptive, and cleverly published his theories posthumously. Had he been alive, the Church surely would have killed him.

          • Ah, but this is only because Copernicus, a devoute Catholic, feared and respected the Church, recognized that his theories (which actually others had suggested before, though none would take credit (blame) for them) would be disruptive, and cleverly published his theories posthumously. Had he been alive, the Church surely would have killed him.

            About the only thing you have right here is that Copernicus was a devout Catholic and respected the Church.

            Who exactly had suggested Copernicus's "theories" before? While some ancients apparently hinted at heliocentric models (Philolaus and Aristarchus, to be specific), we know very little about whether they were fully developed given that the treatises have not survived. And they wouldn't have been "blamed" for them by the Church, since there wasn't even a Catholic Church around to pay attention to th

            • Who exactly had suggested Copernicus's "theories" before?

              The man didn't live in a vacuum. Most historians realize this. Copernicus shared his theories with his friends, but they also contributed to his theories. Besides some perceptive ancient greeks, such as Aristarchus of Samos, there were anonymous contemporaries of Copernicus, likely his colleagues, who also believed the heliocentric theory prior to Copernicus' sharing his material. Everyone working on the issue KNEW there was something wrong with the accepted paradigm... and many had come to the solution o

              • doing a little double checking (my History and Philosophy of Science and Technology seminars are now better than 15 years ago... give me a break, kthx). Here of some of Copernicus' heliocentric predicessors [wikipedia.org], but there were contemporaries of his that have remained anonymous... Copernicus was the beard of a generation of astronomers that believed heliocentrism, but were far to meek to publicly make the claim.
                • Here of some of Copernicus' heliocentric predicessors,

                  Umm... I'm really not trying to be annoying about this, but the link you have mentions a couple ancient astronomers that I already pointed out in my first reply to you. They weren't Copernicus's contemporaries.

                  but there were contemporaries of his that have remained anonymous... Copernicus was the beard of a generation of astronomers that believed heliocentrism, but were far to meek to publicly make the claim.

                  Okay, but can you name any of them, other than the people around Copernicus who believed in the idea once he shared his earlier stuff with them? I know of a couple random references that might imply heliocentrism in medieval texts, and some Islamic astronomers who proposed or hinted at such systems

                  • Clarification -- I meant to write:

                    I agree with you that people thought there were some problems with the accepted (Ptolemaic) model...

                    By the way, I'm really not trying to be confrontational about this... if you know of contemporaries to Copernicus, I'd be really intrigued to know.

                  • They weren't Copernicus's contemporaries.

                    I didn't say they were. I said "besides some ... ancient greeks, there were anonymous contemporaries" or something like that.

                    Okay, but can you name any of them

                    Can I name the anonymous contemporaries? No. They were anonymous. They were in fear of their lives, or perhaps their careers. Again, Copernicus didn't work in a vacuum. It wasn't as if one day heliocentrism didn't exist... then, BAM, he was the sole guy on the planet that had the idea, and suddenly it existed. He took credit, very near to his death, to spare these anonymous contempor

    • And later:
      Pope Urban VIII personally asked Galileo to give arguments for and against heliocentrism in the book,
      Indeed, it was Galileo's political antagonism, not his ideas, that got him trouble. Imagine that.

      Hmmm.....you might have wanted to include the rest of that sentence you quoted from the article:

      Pope Urban VIII personally asked Galileo to give arguments for and against heliocentrism in the book, and to be careful not to advocate heliocentrism.

      Sorry but forbidding the advocation of scientific knowledge is pretty much anti-science. Galileo may well not have helped himself by being somewhat politically antagonistic but the overwhelming picture is that the Catholic church was happy to support science

      • by gillbates (106458)

        I read the rest of the statement as an indication the Pope is well aware of how close Galileo is coming to heresy, and rather than see him hanged as a heretic, seeks to provide him with a mechanism by which he may still expound on his ideas, without making himself liable to heresy charges.

        Galileo, regardless of his intentions, not only fails to achieve the objective of the Pope's advice, but also inadvertently insults Pope. True to form, Galileo angers, rather than enlightens. One could make a good arg

    • He's demonstrated the ability to deal with concepts in varying degrees, and to understand the difference between a *political* objection, and a doctrinal one.

      From Galileo's recantation letter [umkc.edu]:


      I must altogether abandon the false opinion that the sun is the center of the world and immovable, and that the earth is not the center of the world, and moves, and that I must not hold, defend, or teach in any way whatsoever, verbally or in writing, the said false doctrine, and after it had been notified to me that the said doctrine was contrary to Holy Scripture [...] I have been pronounced by the Holy Office to be vehemently suspected of heresy, that is to say, of having

  • by afortaleza (791264) on Thursday January 07, 2010 @07:33PM (#30689172)
    Heliocentrism was NEVER a problem for the Catholic Church, Copernicus never had a problem with that many years earlier. Galileo was the pope's cousin and constantly defied the pope on his writings, never touching heliocentrism, heliocentrism was just the way they used to get him some punishment.
  • 39 years ago (in 1981), the Catholic Church finally got around to forgiving Galileo for insisting that the Earth was not the center of the universe! Nobody can say the Pope isn't up to speed on all the latest issues!
  • history (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TheSHAD0W (258774) on Thursday January 07, 2010 @07:57PM (#30689364) Homepage

    OK, the moons themselves are much older...

    Oh really? How do you know? Until they were observed, they might have been indeterminate. Paging Schrodinger!

  • by NotSoHeavyD3 (1400425) on Thursday January 07, 2010 @08:26PM (#30689570)
    I mean be fair. It's annoying when people talk about the RCC as a bunch of biblical literalists. (One step above creationists.) As a Catholic I can tell you they're not, they're control freaks. That's what they like, to control information. Then let that information out slowly. I mean they kept the bible and masses in Latin for centuries. (It's kind of hard to interpret the bible for yourself if you don't understand the language it's written in.) Of course there's loads of stuff that they did over the centuries where it's kind of hard to figure out where in the bible it said that.(Like indulgences. I still haven't heard an explaination for why we're supposed to eat fish on Fridays that made any sense.) Hell, go to a Catholic mass for once. It's all "Stand, sit, stand, kneel." It's like the priest is a gym teacher putting the parishioners through calisthenics.
    • by belloc (37430)

      "I still haven't heard an explaination for why we're supposed to eat fish on Fridays that made any sense."

      This is an explanation: meat is expensive; in the past it was often prohibitively so. Christians who had the means to afford meat for their daily meals were asked to give it up on one day a week, that is, on the weekly celebration of Christ's death each Friday. They were then asked to donate to the poor the money that they would have spent on the meat. This was, and still is, considered to have two

  • I have to admit I never looked through a telescope (well, aside of those times in college but it wasn't really pointed at the sky at that moment...), but doesn't something like that require observation over some time? Or are those moons so large that you immediately notice them as moons and not as some sort of stars that might not be visible without? Else I'd expect Gallileo to monitor them for some time, notice that they move around Jupiter and thus conclude that they must be moons.

Aren't you glad you're not getting all the government you pay for now?

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