Introduction

People used to believe that the earth was fixed in space and that the sun and all other celestial bodies revolved around it. Galileo di Vincenzo Bonaiuti de’ Galilei, popularly known as Galileo, was an Italian astronomer, physicist, and engineer, who was born in the city of Pisa on February 15, 1564.

He was the first to discover that the earth orbited around the sun. Galileo Galilei was a forerunner of the experimental scientific method and the first to make significant astronomical discoveries with a refracting telescope. 

The Telescope!

Hans Lippershey devised a telescope in 1608 that magnified things by several degrees. Then, Galileo invented the telescope, which allowed him to view objects thirty times closer. Later, the King of Venice appointed him at the University of Padua as a professor. He made significant discoveries about the stars and planets with the use of this telescope. Jupiter had a little moon that rotated around it, which was Galileo’s discovery.

He discovered that the sun had spots on it. Copernicus, a Polish astronomer, had declared the Earth to be a planet around fifty years before Galileo’s discovery, but he had been unable to prove it. Galileo came to the realization that Copernicus was right. 

Galileo taught his findings and beliefs at the university but it caused numerous misunderstandings and got him in trouble with the church since his views on the sun and the earth differed from what the Bible seemed to indicate. Hence, the church members began to judge him as an evil and dangerous man.

He was asked by the Inquisition (church court) to proclaim that the earth did not revolve around the sun. He knelt and made a public statement about it, but as he rose from his knees, he mumbled to himself, “But it still moves.” The court ordered him to stop teaching these despicable concepts. Galileo, on the other hand, did not follow the church’s commands. He was put to trials as a non-believer.

He was sentenced to prison following a lengthy trial, but due to his age, he was released after 22 days. In addition, Galileo published a book in which he criticized old traditional ideas.