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Hearing early in 1609 that a Dutch optician named Lippershey had produced an instrument by which the apparent size of remote objects was magnified Galileo at once realized the principle by which such a result could alone be attained and after a single night devoted to consideration of the laws of refraction he succeeded in constructing a telescope which magnified three times its magnifying power being soon increased to thirty-two This instrument being provided and turned towards the heavens the discoveries which have made Galileo famous were bound at once to follow though undoubtedly he was quick to grasp their full significance The moon was shown not to be as the old astronomy taught a smooth and perfect sphere of different nature to the earth but to possess hills and valleys and other features resembling those of our own globe The planet Jupiter was found to have satellites thus displaying a solar system in miniature and supporting the doctrine of Copernicus It had been argued against the said system that if it were true the inferior planets Venus and Mercury between the earth and the sun should in the course of their revolution exhibit phases like those of the moon and these being invisible to the naked eye Copernicus had to change the false explanation that these planets were transparent and the suns rays passed through them But with his telescope Galileo found that Venus did actually exhibit the desired phases and the objection was thus turned into an argument for Copernicanism Galileo was tried by the Inquisition for his writings discussing the Ptolemaic and Copernican systems In June 1633 Galileo was condemned to life imprisonment for heresy His writings about these subjects were banned and printers were forbidden to publish anything further by him or even to reprint his previous works Outside Italy however his writings were translated into Latin and were read by scholars throughout Europe Galileo remained under imprisonment until his death
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