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Portrait of Galileo Galilei
Ottavio Leoni, Reunion des Musees Nationaux

Galileo Galilei

Galileo Galilei was an Italian astronomer and physicist who lived between 1564-1642. He challenged Aristotle's ancient proposition that heavenly bodies were divine and therefore perfect and blemish-free.

In 1609, Galileo became first person to use a telescope to look at the heavens. He discovered sunspots, and craters and peaks in Earth's moon.

The telescope also allowed Galileo to confirm the work of Copernicus in that the planets circle the Sun (as opposed to all heavenly bodies circling the Earth). Galileo's work offended the Roman Catholic Church and he was convicted of heresy in 1616 by the Inquisition. It wasn't until 1992 that Pope John Paul II announced that the Catholic Church erred in condemning Galileo's beliefs. Sentenced to house arrest for the later years of his life, Galileo is remembered as a martyr for scientific truth.


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Motions of the Planets

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Tycho Brahe was a Danish astronomer who lived between 1546-1601. Although Tycho had his own model of the solar system, which differed from both the heliocentric and geocentric theories, his contributions...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA