Most people have no idea what Galileo discovered 400 years ago

February 19th, 2009 - 3:35 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Feb 19 (ANI): The result of a survey in the UK has established the fact that most people dont know that Galileo discovered 400 years ago that the Earth orbits the Sun, as well as finding the four moons of Jupiter.

The survey was conducted by the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS), the Institute of Physics (IOP) and the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), to mark the UK launch of the International Year of Astronomy (IYA 2009).

The results of the survey were announced at the launch of the International Year of Astronomy, held at the Royal Observatory Greenwich, where hundreds gathered to celebrate the importance and wonder of modern astronomy.

The results show that nearly one third (29 per cent) of the UK is just as likely to associate the name Galileo with wine, fashion or a famous ship before associating him with astronomy.

Also of concern, almost three quarters of the UK (73 per cent) credit Galileo with erroneous discoveries, such as Neptune or the black hole at the centre of our Milky Way Galaxy, or simply dont know what he discovered the four large satellites of Jupiter.

According to Professor Ian Robson, the UK Chair for IYA 2009, The UK is undertaking a massive drive to recruit scientists for the nations future prosperity and it is well understood that astronomy continues to inspire young minds and help them appreciate science.

In publishing the results of this survey we are not pointing a finger, just hoping to remind the UK how one man and one telescope changed the world forever and to encourage more people to look with awe and enthusiasm at the beautiful night sky, he added.

It was in 1609, exactly 400 years ago, that Galileo observed the Moons of Jupiter, now known as the Galilean Moons, which he recorded in his treatise, the Sidereus Nuncius, published in 1610.

The observation was very controversial as it proved that the Earth was not the only centre of movement in the Universe.

It also lent support to the idea that the Earth moved around the Sun, a heretical belief which eventually led to Galileos imprisonment. (ANI)

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