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Dictionary of Astrological and Astronomical Terms

Compiled by Julene Packer-Louis, Evan Bortnick, and Jackie Goldstein

Copyright 2000-2020 OCA, Inc. All rights reserved. No portion of the dictionary may be reproduced in any form without written permission.


Galileo, Galilei (1564-1642)

Gifted Italian astronomer, musician, and mathmetician, who was the first person to use a telescope to study the heavens. He single-handedly disproved much of the Catholic Church's Earth-centered doctrine and championed Copernicus's Sun-centered system of planetary motion. He discovered the craters of the Moon, four of the moons of Jupiter, and the phases of Venus and Mercury (proving that they orbited the Sun, not the Earth). For his work defending Copernican astronomy, the Catholic Church admonished him in 1616. In 1633, he was sentenced to house arrest for the remainder of his natural life as he had continued to work against the Church's desires. The Catholic Church finally pardoned him in 1992.

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