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What is the importance of Galileo's discoveries?

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Quick Answer

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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Full Answer

In 1609, having developed telescopes based on the designs by Dutch eyeglass makers, Galileo decided to point a telescope towards the sky in the hope of learning more about the universe. Despite controversy and ridicule from the Catholic Church, Galileo openly supported the Copernican theory that the Earth rotates around the Sun.

Throughout the 1600s, Galileo published several works based on his discoveries that refuted several Aristotelian explanations. More importantly, despite being a devout Catholic, Galileo's works refuted and challenged biblical claims. The Copernican theory that he supported was officially declared heresy by the Catholic Church in 1616, and Galileo was ordered not to hold, teach or defend the theory in any manner. As a devout Catholic, he honored these orders for a time. His discoveries and the overwhelming amount of evidence he was able to gather earned him the moniker "the father of modern science," and his findings were so compelling that in 1758, the church lifted their ban on work that supported Copernican theory.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What did Galileo discover?

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    After Galileo built his first telescope in 1609, he observed and described the landscape of the moon, discovered four of the moons of Jupiter, discovered the phases of Venus, and discovered sunspots. Galileo's discovery of sunspots supported the idea of heliocentrism, a model that places the sun at the center of the universe with the planets orbiting around it.

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  • Q:

    What discoveries did Galileo make?

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    Galileo discovered several key laws of motion, such as the Principle of Inertia, and used a telescope to view the Moon and later Jupiter, where he discovered its moons for the first time. He wrote a book supporting the Copernican heliocentric model, in which the Sun is at the center of the universe, but had to recant this view during his trial by the Inquisition in 1633.

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  • Q:

    Why was Galileo Galilei charged with heresy?

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    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 Galileo's full name?

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    Galileo's full name is Galileo Galilei. He was an Italian mathematician who is well known for his significant work in laying the foundation for modern physics and astronomy.

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