Man's physical universe



of the revolution of the four largest moons which revolve around

He discovered mountains on the moon and spots on the sun

The Milky Way was shown to


by which he could detect its rotation.

consist of myriads of faint stars. And what a thrill it must have been

when he first saw Saturn's gorgeous rings!

Galileo was the first experimenter to seek facts and accept his findings

as such without trying to give them unwarranted meaning or trying

to fit them into an already existing philosophy.

In the sixteenth century the citizens of Geneva decided: "For once

and forever, in no branch of learning shall any one stray from the

philosophy of Aristotle." Such was the spirit of the age in which Galileo

lived, and Galileo's greatest contribution was his challenge to authority.

Galileo asked people to experiment and base their conclusions on observations

rather than on the statements of Aristotle.


1. Why was the Copernican theory of the solar system not generally accepted

when it was advanced? Compare this with the modern treatment of new


2. What were the Babylonians' ideas concerning the stars?

3. Give a brief outline of your present conception of the universe.

4. List some of the astronomical ideas of the Greeks.

5. Give the main points of Ptolemy's ideas concerning the universe. Which of

these were erroneous?

6. What new concepts concerning the nature of the universe did Copernicus


7. What led Copernicus to reach his conclusions concerning the solar system?

8. What led Galileo to reach his conclusions concerning the solar system?

9. Why were the ancient conceptions of the universe so inaccurate?

10. Upon what observations did Thales recognize a natural division of the year

into four seasons?

11. How did Thales account for the luminosity of the moon?

12. In what two entirely different ways did some of the Greek philosophers

explain the apparent rotation of the heavens?

13. Why did Galileo meet with much opposition to his ideas?

14. What were the contributions of each of the following men to astronomy?

(a) Thales, (b) Hipparchus, (c) Ptolemy, {d) Copernicus, (e) Brahe.

15. What was the most important contribution of Galileo to Science?

16. What is astrology? Look up the meaning of this word in an encyclopedia.

Is astrology a science?

17. What is meant by the statement that astrology is a pseudo-science?

18. Why do people believe in astrology?

19. Visit a local newsstand and find out how many astrology magazines and how

many copies of each are sold each month by this stand. What are the prices

of these magazines?

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