7 January, 1610. A date described as "sparkling" in astronomical history. It was 401 years ago today that Galileo first observed Jupiter with his relatively simple 20 power telescope, observing 3 bright stars in a line with the planet. It took 3 more nights for him to realize that these "stars" were traveling with Jupiter, and thus in orbit about the planet. But when he did and began to communicate this discovery with his peers, things began to change. Superstition and conjecture began to give way to observation and experimentation. Modern science had begun. Hard to believe it was 1 year ago this week that I was in Padua celebrating Galileo and his discoveries with my colleagues. Since then, the "Atlas of the Galileo Satellites" has been published and I continue to work on various Galilean satellite projects, including digital flyover movies of the satellites, as well as new science on Saturn's fascinating family of icy satellites. In the meantime, the planets continue to orbit the Sun and politicians betray their promises once again . . . .
Happy New Year!
Pictures (of moons) at an Exhibition
Padova, January 2010
Galileo's Lecture Hall at Aula Magna, Padova, January 2010
Dining 1610 style, Padova, January 2010