When Galileo Defined Heaven as Ordinary
Although the history of science has not awarded Galileo’s Messenger the same laurels as Newton’s Principia or Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, I regard it as one of the most consequential volumes of science ever published. In this little book, Galileo reports what he saw after turning his new telescope toward the heavens: strong evidence that the heavenly bodies are made of ordinary material, like the winter ice at Lute Island. The result caused a revolution in thinking about the separation between heaven and earth, a mind-bending expansion of the territory of the material world, and a sharp challenge to the Absolutes. The materiality of the stars, combined with the law of the conservation of energy, decrees that the stars are doomed to extinction. The stars in the sky, the most striking icons of immortality and permanence, will one day expire and die.
From “When the Heavens Stopped Being Perfect” by Alan Lightman for Nautilus; Image from Nautilus
#heaven #heavens #galileo #star #stars #science #astronomy #telescope #galileo #newton #darwin #book #moon #story #stories #thestorybar