Faculty of Science School of Physics

July Lecture: Galileo's invention of the astronomical telescope and his remarkable discoveries: moons, stars and a new planet

Fri Jul 3 8:00pm - 9:00pm

Location: Elizabeth Murdoch Theatre A, University of Melbourne (adjacent to the School of Physics)

Presented by Professor David Jamieson, School of Physics, University of Melbourne

Missed this lecture? See it here.

The year 2009 has been declared the international year of astronomy to commemorate and celebrate the 400th anniversary of the first time Galileo turned his newly invented telescope to the heavens. This lecture looks at Galileo’s technological breakthrough with the invention of his astronomical telescope and investigates the avalanche of new discoveries and knowledge that it produced. Some of these discoveries are well known like the discovery of the moons of Jupiter and the lunar landscape. But there is a surprise drawn from the pages of Galileo's logbooks of 1612 and 1613. He notes the position of a "fixed star" that does not exist in any star chart because it is the planet Neptune which Galileo observed 234 years before its official discovery. Did he know this "fixed star" was a planet? His notes suggest he saw Neptune move and computer simulations show the precision of his observations. This lecture will review the evidence

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