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What did Galileo Galilei discover?

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Quick Answer

Galileo Galilei is credited with discovering four of Jupiter's moons. He made this and many other discoveries in 1610 after building his first telescope.

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Full Answer

When Galileo Galilei was a student, his father sent him off to the University of Pisa in the hopes his son would study medicine. However, Galilei had other plans and studied math instead. After graduating from the university, he stayed on as a math professor and made several important discoveries in physics. Galilei wrote "Principles of Inertia" which is similar to Newton's First Law.

Once he became interested in astronomy, he built his first telescope in 1609, which helped him discover Jupiter's largest moons. He also discovered many new stars, the phases of Venus, and sunspots. By looking at Venus's phases and sunspots, he came to the conclusion that the sun, like the Earth rotates and that all the planets orbit around the sun. This discovery came at a time when most people believed the Earth was the center of the galaxy and that all the planets revolved around it.

Galilei confirmed the studies of other famous scientists like Copernicus, and although he was chastised by the church for his findings, the church allowed him to continue with his work. Eventually, the church had enough, put him on trial for heresy and tried to force him to tell the world his findings were wrong. He refused and was first imprisoned and then later confined to his home.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    Why was Galileo Galilei charged with heresy?

    A:

    Galileo Galilei was charged with heresy because of his Copernican heliocentric writings, which claimed that the Earth revolved around the sun and not vice-versa. During the 15th century, the Catholic Church used Biblical passages to maintain that the Earth was a fixed body at the center of the universe.

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  • Q:

    What is the importance of Galileo's discoveries?

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    Galileo Galilei, more commonly known simply as Galileo, was an Italian scientist and astronomer active during the late 1500s and early 1600s whose pioneering observations and studies have been credited as the birth of modern physics and astronomy. He was a supporter of the Copernican theory that the sun resides at the center of the Solar System and that the Earth rotates around it.

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  • Q:

    Why is Galileo famous?

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    Galileo is famous for many things but is probably best known for discovering Jupiter's four moons. The moons around Jupiter are called "Gallilean moons."

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  • Q:

    How did Galileo Galilei become famous?

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    Galileo Galilei was a scientist who made many discoveries in astronomy and physics, such as four of the moons of Jupiter, the phases of Venus, Saturn's rings and that an object accelerates at a constant rate. Although Galileo did not invent the telescope, he is famous for making modifications to it. He worked with pendulums and established that they have a constant period.

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