Galileo Galilei

Jupiter and the Galilean Moons

Jupiter and the Galilean Moons

Montage of Jupiter’s four Galilean moons, in a composite image from top to bottom: Io, Europa, Ganymede, Callisto ©NASA On January 7, 1610, physicist and astronomer Galileo Galilei turned his new telescope to the nocturnal sky to watch the planet Jupiter and discovered the eponymous four moons of Jupiter, Io, Europa, Ganimede, and Callisto.[1,2] Based only on uncertain descriptions of the first practical telescope which the Dutch lens maker Hans Lippershey [3]…
Standing on the Shoulders of Giants – Sir Isaac Newton

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants – Sir Isaac Newton

Sir Isaac Newton (1643-1727), Portrait by Sir Godfrey Kneller (1689) On January 4, 1643 [N.S.] (25 December 1642 [O.S.]), Sir Isaac Newton, famous physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist and theologian, was born. With his Principia Newton laid the foundation of modern classical mechanics. Besides he constructed the very first reflecting telescope and independent of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz developed differential and integral calculus [10]. “We are to admit no more causes…
Johannes Fabricius and the Sunspots

Johannes Fabricius and the Sunspots

Probably on June 13, 1611, Dutch astronomer Johannes Fabricius published his Narratio de maculis in sole observatis et apparente earum cum sole conversione (Account of Spots Observed on the Sun and of Their Apparent Rotation with the Sun), which counts as the first published description of sunspots. Nevertheless, sunspots have been discovered earlier, as the first record of a sunspot drawing dates back into the 12th century to John of…
Simon Marius and his Astronomical Discoveries

Simon Marius and his Astronomical Discoveries

  On January 20 (or January 10 according to the old Julian calendar), 1573, German astronomer Simon Marius was born. Marius was pupil of Tycho Brahe, one of the earliest users of the telescope and the first in print to make mention the Andromeda nebula. He studied and named the four largest moons of Jupiter that he claimed to have them discovered independently and even before Galileo. Simon Marius was born…
Cavalieri’s Principle

Cavalieri’s Principle

On November 30, 1648, Italian mathematician Bonaventura Cavalieri passed away. He is known for his work on the problems of optics and motion, work on the precursors of infinitesimal calculus, and the introduction of logarithms to Italy. Cavalieri’s principle in geometry partially anticipated integral calculus. “Rigor is the concern of philosophy not of geometry.” (Bonaventura Cavalieri) Born at Milan, Cavalieri was given the name Francesco when he was born. His father’s…
Peiresc and the Orion Nebula

Peiresc and the Orion Nebula

Around November 25, 1610, French astronomer and savant Nicolas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc discovers the Orion Nebula, a diffuse nebula situated south of Orion’s Belt in the constellation of Orion. It is one of the brightest nebulae, and is visible to the naked eye in the night sky. Nicolas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc studied at the Jesuit College at Tournon, where he first gained his interest in astronomy, as well as archeology…
Evangelista Torricelli and the Barometer

Evangelista Torricelli and the Barometer

Evangelista Torricelli (1608-1647) On October 15, 1608, Italian physicist and mathematician Evangelista Torricelli was born, best known for his invention of the barometer, but is also known for his advances in Optics. Evangelista Torricelli was born in Rome, the firstborn child of Gaspare Ruberti, a poor textile worker, and Giacoma Torricelli. His family was from Faenza in the Province of Ravenna, then part of the Papal States. His parents sent…
The Galileo Affair

The Galileo Affair

Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) On February 13, 1633, Galileo Galilei arrived in Rome and was brought before the inquisitor Vincenzo Maculani to be charged for his defence of the Copernican theory in his writings. In the course of the trial, Galilei was found guilty and sentenced to house arres for the rest of his life. All in all, Galileo is a frequent guest in our blog. Besides his life, we have…
Galileo and the Exploration of Jupiter

Galileo and the Exploration of Jupiter

Artist Impression of Galileo encountering Io On October 18, 1989, the unmanned NASA spacecraft Galileo was launched on her mission to study the planet Jupiter and its moons. Named after the astronomer Galileo Galilei, it consisted of an orbiter and entry probe, which descended into Jupiter’s atmosphere. It was Galileo Galilei, who connected us to the skies in 1609, when he demonstrated the improved instrument “for seeing things far away…
Ole Rømer and the Speed of Light

Ole Rømer and the Speed of Light

Ole Rømer at work On October 5, 1644 (or according to the old julian calendar September 25), Danish astronomer Ole Christensen Rømer was born. He is best known for making the first quantitative measurements of the speed of light. Ole Rømer enrolled at the University of Copenhagen in the 1660s and learned from famous scientists like Rasmus Bartholin. Bartholin discovered double refraction of a light ray by Iceland spar and…
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