Analysis Of Galileo Galilei's 'The Sidereal Messenger'

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In his journal The Sidereal Messenger, Galileo Galilei documents his astronomical findings. Galilei makes three discoveries based off his observations with his microscope; he finds the moon is physically similar to Earth, the existence of thousands of stars that are invisible to the naked eye, and Jupiter’s four moons. He proves that the moon’s surface is similar to Earth’s terrain through his sketches of his observations. Galilei’s illustrations display the moon’s shaded ridges and spots to show how the moon’s surface is three dimensional and that it has a terrain similar to Earth’s mountains and valleys. He refers to a round cavity in the middle of the moon and states, “It offers the same aspect to shadow and illumination as a region similar …show more content…
His second discovery involves the stars in the Pleiades and Orion constellations. Prior to Galilei’s observation, it was thought that the nebulae contained several single stars; however, he found that these masses are composed of groups of individuals stars. Galilei includes an illustration of his observation and describes, “The second figure contains the nebula Praesepe, which is not a single star but a mass of more than forty little stars” (65). His observations show how there are thousands of stars that cannot be seen with the naked eye. Galilei’s third discovery concludes that Jupiter has four moons because the four masses that orbit around the planet do not twinkle and have nearly equal magnitudes. He describes how the moons are “wandering around Jupiter like the moon around the Earth while all together with Jupiter traverse a great circle around the sun in the space of 12 years” (86-87). This explains how they are moons rather than stars because they orbit around Jupiter rather than being …show more content…
Galilei shows his ambitiousness towards making discoveries in the beginning of his journal when he says, “But having dismissed earthly things, I applied myself to explorations of the heavens” (40). This expresses how he embraces his desire to learn the truth about his surroundings rather than relying on the information that is being fed to society on Earth. His reference to the solar system as “the heavens” resembles how society believes that celestial structures resemble heavenly bodies. Galilei’s discovery of the moon’s surface disproves society’s belief that the moon resembles a heavenly body; he proves that the surface is not smooth like his contemporaries believe it to be through his observations of structures resembling mountains and valleys. Galilei’s findings about the moon suggest that there are more discrepancies in the bible and in society’s religious beliefs because of its similarity to Earth. Along with this, Galilei states, “I propose great things for inspection and contemplation by every explorer of Nature...because of their newness, unheard of through the ages, and also because of the instrument with the benefit of which they make manifest to our sight” (37). Galilei says this because he believes that there is factual information to be gained from exploring the environment rather than explaining natural phenomena based off biblical

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