Today, 15th February marks the 447th birthday of Galileo Galilei, the brilliant Italian scientist and mathematician who fell foul of the Vatican, because he prescribed to the view that the Earth rotated around the Sun, not the other way around, which at that time was considered a heresy, and led to a lifetime house arrest.
This theory, was based around the Heliocentric concept (the Sun is the primary planet in our solar system), this went against the widely held Geocentric (that the Earth was the centre of solar system) view of that time. Remember we are talking about the shift of understanding from the Earth being flat, to understand gravity, planetary ellipses etc.
Copernicus and Galileo
A contemporary of Galileo was the Polish scientist Copernicus, who also fell foul of the church and other learned folk for his view, that the Earth was not at the centre of our universe and Galileo gave his peer unstinting support.
Kepler and Galileo
Ironically, Galileo was scornful of Kepler, yet another contemporary but with more of an awareness to astrology, whose belief was that the Moon caused tides. Umm, not the first time astronomers have poured scorn on astrologers then!
Yet Galileo did do invaluable work in understanding the patterns of Venus and Sunspot activity.
Happy birthday Galileo!