Galileo Galilei

Johannes Hevelius and his Selenographia

Johannes Hevelius and his Selenographia

On January 28, 1611, German astronomer Johannes Hevelius was born. From four years’ telescopic study of the Moon, using telescopes of long focal power, Hevelius compiled Selenographia (“Pictures of the Moon“, 1647), an atlas of the Moon with some of the earliest detailed maps. Family Background and Early Years Johannes Hevelius‘ father was a succesful merchant and pushed Johannes to follow his footsteps rather than pursue a scientific career. Hevelius was sent to Poland…
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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 in Gunzenhausen, near…
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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 name was…
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Nicolas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc and the Discovery of the Orion Nebula

Nicolas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc and the Discovery of the Orion Nebula

Around November 25, 1610, French astronomer and savant Nicolas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc discovered 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. De Peiresc and his “Discovery” De Peiresc’s interests as a scholar were widely dispersed. He collected ancient gems and coins, he promoted young artists by…
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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 Evangelista to…
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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 as if…
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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 became famous…
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Galileo Galilei and his Telescope

Galileo Galilei and his Telescope

Galileo Galilei showing the Doge of Venice how to use the telescope,Fresco at Villa Andrea Ponti, Varese, 1858 On August 25, 1609, Galileo Galilei publicly demonstrated his newly built telescope for the first time to Venetian lawmakers. Besides its astronomical value Galileo’s telescope was also a profitable sideline for him selling telescopes to merchants who found them useful both at sea and as items of trade. Galileo published his initial telescopic astronomical…
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