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The Discoveries of Galileo – Part 2: Sunspots and Their Movements

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#1 E-Ray

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Posted 24 January 2021 - 12:55 PM

Last month I wrote in Part 1 about Galileo’s discovery that the wandering star, Jupiter, was a planet that had four moons. Recall that my motivation was reading the book Discoveries and Opinions of Galileo published in 1957 by Stillman Drake, a Canadian historian and authority on the complete works on Galileo. This article will cover Galileo’s observations of sunspots which got him into hot water with the Roman Catholic Church in 1616.

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#2 Spaceman Spiff

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Posted 24 January 2021 - 01:19 PM

Nice article! Very interesting.


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#3 MawkHawk

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Posted 24 January 2021 - 05:51 PM

I'm really enjoying these pieces! Thanks and please keep them coming!


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#4 Tyson80s

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Posted 25 January 2021 - 01:59 AM

thanks for updating!


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#5 Otomano

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Posted 26 January 2021 - 03:53 PM

Really good piece. Thanks!
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#6 GeoNole94

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Posted 29 January 2021 - 07:15 PM

Anther nice summary of an important period of scientific discovery and logical push back against the unsupportable dogma of the time.


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#7 Special Ed

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Posted 30 January 2021 - 11:53 AM

E-Ray,

 

I enjoyed reading Part 2 of your series.  I wasn't aware of the tussle with the Jesuit astronomer Apelle.  I guess the competition over precedence of discoveries hasn't changed over the centuries.

 

As homage to Galileo, I made a set of observations back in 2007 to follow sunspots through half a solar rotation.

 

https://www.cloudyni...-27-feb-9-2007/


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#8 E-Ray

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Posted 30 January 2021 - 05:35 PM

E-Ray,

 

I enjoyed reading Part 2 of your series.  I wasn't aware of the tussle with the Jesuit astronomer Apelle.  I guess the competition over precedence of discoveries hasn't changed over the centuries.

 

As homage to Galileo, I made a set of observations back in 2007 to follow sunspots through half a solar rotation.

 

https://www.cloudyni...-27-feb-9-2007/

Very nice work back in 2007! I like your Jupiter, Moon, and Saturn sketches.



#9 Special Ed

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Posted 30 January 2021 - 05:50 PM

Thank you, sir.  smile.gif  



#10 chaoscosmos

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Posted 03 February 2021 - 04:09 PM

Good stuff.


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#11 iseegeorgesstar

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Posted 05 February 2021 - 03:42 PM

I'm curious how it was argued the moon is an unblemished object when with your naked eye you could see the dark regions on it. What strikes me is that this visual observation is a lot more easily accessible than say seeing sunspots on a sunset with a naked eye -- which I wasn't even aware was possible.

 

Thanks for writing these posts. Those sunspot drawings of Galileo's are awesome!!!! You're basically looking at real documented history of the sun!!! We have, if you don't count everything on earth, so little history of the universe apart from a meteorite or two. 


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#12 E-Ray

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Posted 06 February 2021 - 12:33 AM

iseegeorgestar: By unblemished the 17th century natural philosophers meant perfectly smooth and polished surface of a sphere according to Aristotelian thinking for celestial objects which was embraced by the and Roman Catholic Church. The coloration of the Moon was not considered an imperfection and was observed to not change. Sunspots were different because they did appear, change over time, and disappear.

 

Hope this helps! 

 

Ed

I'm curious how it was argued the moon is an unblemished object when with your naked eye you could see the dark regions on it. What strikes me is that this visual observation is a lot more easily accessible than say seeing sunspots on a sunset with a naked eye -- which I wasn't even aware was possible.

 

Thanks for writing these posts. Those sunspot drawings of Galileo's are awesome!!!! You're basically looking at real documented history of the sun!!! We have, if you don't count everything on earth, so little history of the universe apart from a meteorite or two. 



#13 Chris Westland

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Posted 19 February 2021 - 07:37 PM

I'm not sure Ed whether you have read "Galileo: And the Science Deniers" by Mario Livio, but it goes into great detail about the politics behind the church's resistance to Galileo's findings.  Galileo was also in poor health in later life, and could be very edgy in his responses to criticism.  Also there was debate about whether the telescope was actually fabricating images of Jupiter's moons and sunspots.


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#14 E-Ray

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Posted 20 February 2021 - 10:45 PM

I'm not sure Ed whether you have read "Galileo: And the Science Deniers" by Mario Livio, but it goes into great detail about the politics behind the church's resistance to Galileo's findings.  Galileo was also in poor health in later life, and could be very edgy in his responses to criticism.  Also there was debate about whether the telescope was actually fabricating images of Jupiter's moons and sunspots.

Hi Chris, 

Thanks for the recommendation! I'll request the book from my local library's interlibrary loan service. 

 

What got me interested in Galileo was a presentation to our Austin Chapter of Reasons to Believe (a science and faith ministry started by astrophysicist Dr. Hugh Ross in 1986) in February 2019 by Dr. John Tyler. Dr. Tyler has a Ph. D in Philosophy and a JD in law and is a Professor of Law and Jurisprudence at Houston Baptist University. His background in law was the basis of his talk.

 

This was the first time that I ever heard that Galileo went before the Inquisition twice. The first time was in 1616 where Galileo was censured and instructed to not teach heliocentrism as fact but only as a theory. The second of course is the more famous trial in 1633 after Galileo published "Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems" in which he presents arguments in the form of a dialogue about geocentricism and heliocentrism. Galileo was accused of violating his censure by promoting that the Earth moves around the Sun in this book.

 

Dr. Tyler researched all of the original legal documents that still exist and learned that Galileo was prosecuted largely because he embarrassed his old friend, Pope Urban VII, by putting the Pope's words into the mouth of Simplicio, the dunce-like character in Dialogue who was defending an unmovable earth. Pope Urban was highly disliked by the Italian and other European elites and was facing ouster as Pope. He used Galileo as a scapegoat and prosecuted him before the Inquisition in bad faith to save his papacy.

 

Probably more info than what you were looking for.

 

Regards, Ed 



#15 Chris Westland

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Posted 21 February 2021 - 12:30 AM

Livio actually goes into detail about the discussions in each of these inquisitions.  The Pope had been an admirer of Galileo, but was caught in the intense politics of the Reformation, and was cornered to get serious about the challenge to the Church doctrine.  Galileo really got of lucky, since only a few decades earlier, Giordano Bruno had been burned at the stake for promoting exactly the same ideas that Galileo championed.  

 

Tell us how you like Livio's book.  It's well written, but I have to admit that Vatican politics get a bit tedious after several hundred pages.



#16 Garryowen

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Posted 22 February 2021 - 04:22 PM

Interesting to see this post since I'm now reading, "The Invention of Science, a New History of the Scientific Revolution," by David Wootton. He talks about Galileo at lot, identifying Galileo's discovery of the moons of Jupiter as a pivotal event in the history of science, on the same scale and with the same level of impact as the voyages of discovery by the European navigators: 

 

"In discovering the moons of Jupiter, Galileo had discovered new worlds, just as the navigators had done."  

 

Both of these events shook up the prevailing worldview considerably, and moved the emphasis away from rediscovering/interpreting what ancients like Aristotle said and believed towards what we today call science. And the invention of the printing press also ushered in a new notion--discoveries were increasingly attributed to the first to be published.  




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