On This Day - February 13th

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On Sunday 13th February. 1633, Galileo Galilei arrived in Rome for his trial before the Inquisition.

Galileo, born on 15th February 1564, was an Italian polymath and a central figure in the transition from natural philosophy to modern science and in the transformation of the scientific Renaissance into a scientific revolution.

His championing of heliocentrism, in which Earth and the other planets revolve around the Sun, was controversial during his lifetime, when most subscribed to either geocentrism or the Tychonic systems, which had Earth as the centre of the Universe. He met with opposition from astronomers, who doubted heliocentrism because of the absence of an observed stellar parallax.

The matter was investigated by the Roman Inquisition in 1615, which concluded that heliocentrism was "foolish and absurd in philosophy, and formally heretical since it explicitly contradicts in many places the sense of Holy Scripture."

Galileo defended his views in Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, which appeared to attack Pope Urban VIII and thus alienated him and the Jesuits, who had both supported Galileo up until this point. He was tried by the Inquisition, found "vehemently suspect of heresy", and forced to recant. He spent the rest of his life under house arrest.

While under house arrest, he wrote one of his best-known works, Two New Sciences, in which he summarised work he had done some forty years earlier on the two sciences now called kinematics and strength of materials.

Galileo died, having been suffering fever and heart palpitations, on 8th January 1642, aged 77.

Our question for today is this — at what speed is planet Earth travelling in its orbit around the Sun?

Click here for the answer

We are travelling at approximately 19 miles / 30km per second — or 67,000mph / 110,000kmh.

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