(Roughly) Daily

“Look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see, and wonder about what makes the universe exist.”*…

Our environment…

This map shows a slice of our Universe. It was created from astronomical data taken night after night over a period of 15 years using a telescope in New Mexico, USA. We are located at the bottom. At the top is the actual edge of the observable Universe. In between, we see about 200,000 galaxies.

Each tiny dot is a galaxy. About 200,000 are shown with their actual position and color. Each galaxy contains billions of stars and planets. We are located at the bottom. Our galaxy, the Milky Way, is just a dot. Looking up, we see that space is filled with galaxies forming a global filamentary structure. Far away from us (higher up in the map), the filaments become harder to see…

For a (much crisper, more vivid, and interactive) version: “The Map of the Observable Universe.”

* Stephen Hawking


As we explore, we might recall that it was on this date in 1616 that The Minutes of the Roman Inquisition recorded the conclusion that Galileo’s writings in support of Copernicus’ heliocentric view of the solar system were “foolish and absurd in philosophy, and formally heretical since it explicitly contradicts in many places the sense of Holy Scripture.” The next day, Galileo was called before Cardinal Bellarmine, who (on Pope Paul V’s instruction) ordered Galileo to abandon the teaching. Shortly thereafter, Copernicus’s De Revolutionibus and other heliocentric works were banned (entered onto the Index Librorum Prohibitorum) “until correction.”

Sixteen years later, Galileo “published” Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems (Dialogo sopra i due massimi sistemi del mondo)– that’s to say, he presented the first copy to his patron, Ferdinando II de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany.  Dialogue, which compared the heliocentric Copernican and the traditional geo-centric Ptolemaic systems, was an immediate best-seller.

While there was no copyright available to Galileo, his book was printed and distributed under a license from the Inquisition.  Still, the following year it was deemed heretical– and he joined Copernicus on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum: the publication of anything else Galileo had written or ever might write was also banned… a ban that remained in effect until 1835.

Domenico Tintoretto‘s portrait of Galileo (source)

Written by (Roughly) Daily

February 25, 2023 at 1:00 am

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