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Home Forums Observing and Imaging Group Pleiades illustration in Sidereus Nuncius

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  • #10297
    Mike Meynell
    Moderator
    Topics: 119
    Replies: 756

    Those of you who went on the visit to the Royal Astronomical Society last week will remember seeing an early copy of Galileo’s Sidereus Nuncius (Starry Messenger).

    The book was opened on the page showing Galileo’s diagram of the “constellation” of the Pleiades (the Pleiades were often considered to be a separate constellation). I was particularly intrigued by this illustration, as it wasn’t obvious what the long string of stars on the left of the diagram referred to.

    On Blackheath on Monday, I took a single shot of the Pleiades, with the intention of trying to compare it to the diagram in Sidereus Nuncius, and this is the result, with the page from Sidereus Nuncios superimposed on the image:

    Pleiades Sidereus Nuncius by MikeMey67[/url], on Flickr

    The first thing to say is that I had to rotate my image by about 40 degrees to match the diagram in the book. However, Galileo’s diagram is incredibly accurate, especially when you consider that he wouldn’t have seen the whole of the Pleiades through his telescope.

    The string of stars to the left now make sense to me!

    Anyway, an interesting little experiment that has kept me amused for 20 minutes this morning!

    #10298
    Andy Sawers
    Moderator
    Topics: 127
    Replies: 602

    Amazing work – by both of you!

    #10354
    BillOB
    Participant
    Topics: 21
    Replies: 38

    Would it be worth while comparing it to the Italian sky in March 1610  or wouldn’t it change that much in 400+ years?

     

    #10360
    Tej
    Participant
    Topics: 39
    Replies: 597

    Bill, thats a good thought, i changed the date on Stellarium but Pleiades doesnt look to have changed at all. I guess it is too short a time. And just to check that Stellerium WILL show a difference for larger timespans, I entered year 2 and there is a noticeable change in the stars positions but still not great enough to match Galileos sketch which coincidentally leads me to an amusing lecture by Alan Chapman today, at Astrofest.

    His lecture was focussed on de-romanticising popular beliefs in the history of Astronomy (and at the same time point out that there is much more in his new book 😉 ). This included ripping Gallelio to shreds! Well to be fair he didnt say anything bad about his science, it was mainly about his persona. Amongst the not so favourable things he said about Gallelio was that he was an awful sketcher when it came to accuracy! There were peers at the time and before him who did far better in their sketches 🙂 The main criticism of Galileo that Chapman laid on him was that there were many other peers at the time including a respected French Catholic who openly supported Corponicus theories but they knew how to show respect in society and that the times were not as suppressive we are led to believe. Chapman futes that Galileo was arrogant and had no inkling of tact and respect for any authoritative figures while he himself was given so much privileges and status that he actually abused that and so it was only himself to blame for his eventual house arrest. I dont know if to believe Chapman (and what about the thought police and inquisition, they existed didnt they?) but I certainly cant deny his enrapturing delivery (though he could be a bit much as a long dose!) and his talk did make me think of how easy it is to be fed the same history but with different perspectives.

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 10 months ago by Tej.
    #10362
    Mike Meynell
    Moderator
    Topics: 119
    Replies: 756

    A shame that I missed Allan’s talk, but I had to leave Astrofest early yesterday because of work.

    The criticism of the Catholic Church over the treatment of Galileo has always seemed to me to be a rather lazy view of history. Significant advances in science were made by members of the church, in particular the Jesuits. There is a reason why a huge proportion of craters on the Moon are named after Jesuit priests!

    I agree with Allan. There were many in the church who believed in the Copernican model. But they knew how to persuade. Galileo always seemed to want to belittle people who didn’t agree with him… why else name the follower of Ptolemy and Aristotle in his “dialogue” as “Simplicio”?

    #10363
    Tej
    Participant
    Topics: 39
    Replies: 597

    A shame that I missed Allan’s talk, but I had to leave Astrofest early yesterday because of work.

    The criticism of the Catholic Church over the treatment of Galileo has always seemed to me to be a rather lazy view of history. Significant advances in science were made by members of the church, in particular the Jesuits. There is a reason why a huge proportion of craters on the Moon are named after Jesuit priests!

    I agree with Allan. There were many in the church who believed in the Copernican model. But they knew how to persuade. Galileo always seemed to want to belittle people who didn’t agree with him… why else name the follower of Ptolemy and Aristotle in his “dialogue” as “Simplicio”?

    That’s exactly what Allan said, Mike and with the same eloquence with of course his usual entertaining accentuation on the highlights!

    Reminds me of the first episode of the new Cosmos (presented by Tyson). In that episode there was quite an enjoyable cartoon segment telling the story of Giovanno Bruno. The story goes that Bruno worked in a monastary and decided to go to the forbidden section, to read a forbidden book (that always puzzles me, why do the churches and Vatican, keep these “forbidden” scriptures and books in vaults in the first place!). In this Forbidden 150 year old book, a philosopher (forgot the name, sorry) spoke of an infinite universe. As Bruno believed God was infinite, saw logic in this but the Monastary swiftly kicked him out for the wild infinite universe idea and for also reading the forbidden book! Bruno then becomes a pauper but also a supported of Corponicus model. He was also a dreamer of revelations. One dream revealed that the universe is indeed infinite but not only that, the stars are actually suns like ours with populated worlds revolving around them. SO he preached on this around Europe until he was locked up then burnt on the stake in his homeland, Italy.

    I thought, poor Bruno, never heard of him before. So I read up some articles on him on the net and much like with Gallileo, I discovered Bruno was even more arrogant and high & mighty than even what Chapman describes of Gallileo! In fact, he wasnt really burned on the stake for his astronomical beliefs but for the more blasphemous things he would say about the bible godly figures such as Mary, mother of Jesus, whom he claimed was not a Virgin. Even then, it appears it was his total disrespect that got the worst out of the church at the time! Still, it was wrong to burn the fella on the stake of course but its clear that history is often embellished for romanticism.

    That in turn reminds me of a wonderful Simpson’s episode (this is getting very recursive isnt it?) where Lisa discovers the cowardly truth of Jeremiah Springfield and although the Spingfield historian knew the truth, he allowed the town to be believe in his heroism. Lisa then tries to tell everyone that the legend is a lie with repercussions…I wont reveal the rest of the story in case you haven’t seen it (one of my favourite episodes, actually, I recommend it, if you like the Simpsons!).

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 10 months ago by Tej.
    • This reply was modified 4 years, 10 months ago by Tej.
    • This reply was modified 4 years, 10 months ago by Tej.
    • This reply was modified 4 years, 10 months ago by Tej.
    #10382
    BillOB
    Participant
    Topics: 21
    Replies: 38

    Thanks Tej,  I did not expect them all to line up, I just wondered if some had moved a bit near to Galileo’s drawing. Looks like he’s also bad at diagrams.

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 10 months ago by BillOB.
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