31 March 2008

Galileo Returns to the Vatican

Source: Universe Today
Image: Galileo, oil painting by Justus Sustermans, 1637; in the Uffizi Gallery, Florence

Four centuries after Galileo Galilei was ordered by the Catholic Church to come to Rome and stand trial on suspicion of heresy, a statue of the Italian astronomer will be erected at the Vatican. 2009 is the International Year of Astronomy, which celebrates 400 years since Galileo first used a telescope to study the heavens, and the Vatican plans to join in commemorating the anniversary. Galileo was condemned to house arrest by the Catholic Church in 1633 because his belief that the sun was at the center of the solar system, and not the Earth, contradicted the bible.

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