Sidereus Nuncius, or The Sidereal Messenger by Galileo GalileiThis fine translation is a god-send. . . . Surely you want to read what Galileo wrote. If so buy this book. Van Heldens introduction is scholarly; no one knows more about Galileos telescope; the translation is superb; Van Heldens review of the reception of the Sidereal Messenger is profound; the bibliography is extensive. What more can I say?—David W. Hughes, The Observatory
[Sidereus nunclus] has never before been made available in its entirety in a continuous form, with full notes and comment. The introduction, translation and notes by Van Helden are a splendid example of the best scholarship and fullest accessibility. . . . we can now truly get to grips with the phenomenon of Galileo and what his life and work should mean to us today.—Robert Temple, Nature
THE QUESTION OF NEBULAE: GALILEO'S EXAMINATION OF ORION AND THE PLEIADES
Publications overview Annual reports Newsletters Email discussion lists Careers. Careers overview Astrophysics graduate student programs Engineering education program Summer vacation program Work experience for school students Facilities ATNF facilities. Square Kilometre Array overview Technology. What is radio astronomy? What is a pulsar? Galileo Galilei did not invent the telescope but was the first to use it systematically to observe celestial objects and record his discoveries.
In the spring of , an unknown professor of mathematics at the University of Padua first held a strange object, formed of a short cardboard tube with two lenses fixed at the end. He was not the first to hold a telescope, nor to point it at the Moon and draw what he saw there. So why, years later, do we celebrate that moment as one of the most important in science? We do so because that man, Galileo Galilei, discovered the true face of the Moon — and in doing so, marked a sharp break in our history. From his observations, he drew revolutionary conclusions in terms of physics and philosophy. He immediately realised that the general belief in a difference between the imperfect, changeable Earth and the perfect, immutable heavens — one of the central tenets of Greek and later Christian cosmology — was groundless. Soon afterwards, representatives of the clergy began to express subtle insinuations, then veiled threats, then explicit denunciations of the menace these discoveries posed to the faith.
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By the time Galileo took eye to eyepiece in Padua Italy in , he had already begun a life-long quest to understand the natural world around him. Over the next quarter century Galileo made numerous investigations into the mechanics of motion and weight. By the year Galileo had spent nearly two decades ensconced as a lecturer on mathematics and physical sciences at the University of Padua. He is said to have described this period as one of the most personally fulfilling years of his life. But the quiet joys of teaching and raising a family of three children were poised for change. And that change came in the form of a fateful letter describing a spyglass demonstrated by a Dutchman visiting Venice located some 40 kms west of the university. Based on a scant description of the spyglass workings, Galileo concluded that its main principle was that of refraction.