10-25-07 - Galileo was familiar with the Copernican...

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Galileo was familiar with the Copernican doctrine. But he does doe anything or write anything about it until 1609 when the Telescope comes along. o Galileo gets into arguments with Aristotelian philosophers at the universities because he was simply a professor of mathematics and he had a lower status than them. Galileo knew that he was smarter than all of them but he got paid less. o Galileo finds that copernicanism is a great way to hit at the Aristotelian philosophers because copernicanism really tears apart a lot of Aristotelian stuff. o Galileo constructs a telescope of with 8x diameter He immediately rushes back to Venice to show this off to representatives of the Venetian senate. His goal was to show them how useful this could be for military use. The Venetian senate awards him lifetime tenure of his professorship at Padua and also raised his salary because the telescope worked for military purposes. o It is not until later that he points a telescope with a 20x magnification at the sky to look at celestial objects He wrote in 1610 “Starry Messenger” – it is a book or little pamphlet that describes his new discoveries in the heavens. It was really self promoting journalism, and the result of this was essentially international fame for Galileo because of the claims he was making. First thing he looked at was the moon. o It used to be assumed that the moon was perfect and smooth on the outside – when Galileo looks at it through his telescope he sees that the moon is in fact covered in mountains or craters. Galileo makes an argument that there were irregularities on this supposedly smooth surface and that it was in fact much more like the surface on the earth. He says they are not just collerations but are in fact shadows being cast. In making this argument about the similarity of shadows on earth and on the moon Galileo is drawing comparisons between the heavens and the terrestrial realm, this is very contrary to the typical Aristotelian separation between the two realms. He does not refute it theoretically but rather just goes about refuting it through practice. He argues that as you look at Jupiter and the disks of light around it those discs are accompanying Jupiter in its movements. He has to show that those discs of light are not fixed stars but rather they are companions of Jupiter. He sees that they change their relative
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distances from Jupiter. He decides finally that he is seeing four little points of light that are
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10-25-07 - Galileo was familiar with the Copernican...

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