When Galileo Pointed A Telescope To The Sky

The Starry Messenger title page, 1645

Galileo got his hands on one of the first telescopes and decided to point it at the sky. Amazed at what he was seeing, he wrote this short book to share his observations in elegant and clear writing.

The Starry Messenger is the first work that describes the cratered surface of the moon (at the time it was thought to be smooth) and the moons of Jupiter. He shares his findings with exuberance:

This part of the moon’s surface, where it is spotted as the tail of a peacock is sprinkled with azure eyes, resembles those glass vases which have been plunged while still hot into cold water and have thus acquired a crackled and wavy surface, from which they receive their common name of “icecups.”


To assert that the moon’s secondary light is imparted by Venus is so childish as to deserve no reply. Who is so ignorant as not to understand that from new moon to a separation of sixty degrees between moon and sun, no part of the moon which is averted from the sun can possibly be seen from Venus? And it is likewise unthinkable that this light should depend upon the sun’s rays penetrating the thick solid mass of the moon, for then this light would never dwindle, inasmuch as one hemisphere of the moon is always illuminated except during lunar eclipses. And the light does diminish as the moon approaches first quarter, becoming completely obscured after that is passed.


I have observed the nature and the material of the Milky Way. With the aid of the telescope this has been scrutinized so directly and with such ocular certainty that all the disputes which have vexed philosophers through so many ages have been resolved, and we are at last freed from wordy debates about it. The galaxy is, in fact, nothing but a congeries of innumerable stars grouped together in clusters. Upon whatever part of it the telescope is directed, a vast crowd of stars is immediately presented to view. Many of them are rather large and quite bright, while the number of smaller ones is quite beyond calculation.


…now we have not just one planet rotating about another while both run through a great orbit around the sun; our own eyes show us four [moons] which wander around Jupiter as does the moon around the earth, while all together trace out a grand revolution about the sun in the space of twelve

Even though Galileo’s equipment was primitive, the rudimentary astronomy he uses still takes a good amount of background information and mathematics to understand. His observations may be confusing to the layman.

You won’t help but smile when Galileo relays how stunned he is to notice that there are more stars that exist than what is visible to the naked eye. “Inconceivable,” he says. The knowledge and science that we take for granted today was brand new in his time, and I can only imagine what a rush it must have been for him to be the first to discover so many truths of the universe.

He ends the book with a cliffhanger:

Time prevents my proceeding further, but the gentle reader may expect more soon.

This future work, centered on proving the Copernican model of the solar system, led to house arrest until his death.

Read More: “The Starry Messenger” via PDF

44 thoughts on “When Galileo Pointed A Telescope To The Sky”

  1. The knowledge of the ancients is under appreciated in America, as well as their drive to discover things unknown to them. I sat in a JROTC class a year ago and listened as the instructor gave a lecture about how our ancestors were dumb and superstitious, rendering them discreditable. This was a few months after inhaling the red pill, and caused me to lose my respect for the JROTC program, as well as the Federal Government which promotes this type of progressive stiersheiße.

    1. iapetus always fascinated me. Considering we got our first pictures in 2004 its a bit of a wtf?

    2. “The knowledge of the ancients is under appreciated in America . . .”
      Because it is under deliberate attack.
      ” . . .the instructor gave a lecture about how our ancestors were dumb and superstitious, rendering them discreditable.”
      Never forget. No surrender. Read old books before they get flushed down the memory hole.

  2. Most stuff that’s obvious now was totally revolutionary and endlessly controversial at first. I love his “Childish as to deserve no reply” remark. It could be said about a lot of things. Creationism being among them. Also “Rape culture”.

  3. And, of course, if we had to depend on women for progress in astronomy, we wouldn’t have telescopes and we would still view the planets as mysterious lights which move randomly across the sky.

      1. I think men in general just have more of an impulse to take on risky, ambitious projects. I’m not sure what causes this, however.

        1. Getting noticed by chicks…at least at first, then the thing just takes on a life of its own.

        2. Both Newton and Tesla had no interest whatsoever in women. If they did, their creativity was probably stifled.

        3. All progress depends on the unreasonable man – Newton, Tesla and Einstein were all retrospective cases in Autism, and possibly Aspergers.

        4. Einstein on the other hand, fucked like a champ…..even if some of that pussy was family.

      2. I doubt that even horoscopes – that attempt to sytematise and understand the stars – would exist.

  4. Wasn’t Galileo pardoned by the Catholic church by Pope John Paul II in 1992? Only took 400 years.

      1. Galileo was placed under house arrest and told not to continue his experiments and writings because they contradict the accepted belief of the church. He could’ve easily been sent to the Inquisition and tortured for blasphemy. He had to do all this in secrecy.
        Imagine that! This guy faced death by torture for educating the world the truth! The only place I can think of that still does this is North Korea.
        Imagine how much more advanced human knowledge and technology would’ve been if religion did not oppress these thinkers.

        1. Now there’s a man who hasn’t heard about the British libel laws.
          Or, for that matter, the treatment of Bradley Manning.
          People are still being imprisoned and – yes – tortured for telling the truth.

        2. Wrong.
          When Galileo was trialed by the Inquisition, it was found that the scriptures made no regards between heliocentrism or geocentrism, but if he wanted to teach geocentrism to his students, he had to actually offer proofs and not just his beliefs.
          Not satisfied with that judgement, he publicly slandered the Pope and was then placed under house arrest.
          The two men who developed the Heliocentric model, Copernicus and Kepler, were never tried by any Inquisiton, and Copernicus dedicated his works to the Pope at the time who encouraged him to publish them despite possible public backlash.
          Galileo was both arrogant and rejected empiricism. Had he believed in the geocentric model, he would have been indistinguishable from other people of the time.

        3. You’re right. I have been ignorant with regards to current events. Thank you for shedding some light on the subject. I will sit back and learn.
          As Mark Twain wrote, (not sure of the exact quote, but paraphrasing), Better to sit quietly and have others think you’re a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.

        4. Thank you! Someone finally gets it in the Manosphere – the place where men claim to disbelieve all the idiotic propaganda hurled at the them by the larger society and then go right ahead and believe the same b.s. if it’s the Catholic Church in the headlights.
          Galileo was an arrogant prick – the Pope was his friend, who’d helped the guy out for years and then Galileo decides to write an an entire book mocking the fellow because he didn’t agree with his ideas.
          Thank God, he wasn’t friends with one of the local Italian princes – the imbecile wouldn’t have a head to rest on his arrogant neck after mocking them!

  5. I don’t have kids yet Roosh but I promise myself, if I have any someday, to buy a small telescope to let them look at Jupiter’s visible moons and tell them about Galileo!
    Thanks for the link to a pdf version of his book man!

  6. Feminism is very much comparable to the old times’ inquisition and church: Always putting brakes on innovative men and avoiding societal improvement out of pride and to keep feeding themselves to get bigger and bigger and fatter.
    Rape of human resources

    1. Feminism is maintained over the backs of gullible men. The moment men learn to say ‘no’, the party will be over. As for putting brakes on innovative men, if I reminisce on my days in academia, it were always men who stifled my creativity, as it were mostly male professors who granted female students grades they didn’t deserve. Those damned blue pillers ruin everything.

      1. it’s funny how you fags take so seriously mindless written comments made just for random trolling using the same language you virgin nerds use

        1. inb4 massive downvoting of my post because of discovered intentions, even if the contents were being upvoted

  7. Galileo’s problem was that he insisted the Earth had a circular orbit which contradicted astronomical observations…up to the point where he denied the physical reality of comets because they had an elliptical orbit. It was Kepler that figured out Earth and other planets had elliptical orbits at which point everyone accepted Copernican theory because that actually fit the observational data. Galileo also stirred up controversy by insisting only science could figure out truth, including metaphysical truths, which of course is still a topic debated today.

  8. It’s quite a sad state of affairs, if you think about it, when you have to pick up a book on your own time if you want to learn of the great men who contributed so much to human knowledge and human civilization.

  9. Galileo is one of the “evil white males” that are of no relevance to our education/cultural establishments. Better to teach our kids about some “activist” or feminist. Sad…

  10. Galileo’s discovery of the phases of Venus was really the nail in the coffin for the old Aristotelian/Ptolemaic system for him. It was discovered immediately after the publication of the Sidereus Nuncius.

  11. No it didn’t. His being a complete tool and insulting his patron led to his house arrest. The book was a casualty of his fall from grace, not the cause of it.

    1. I’ll have to research more about this. I saw a documentary on History Channel or something that said differently or I misinterpreted it. Thank you for the insight. I want to know the truth.

      1. Thanks – make sure you double-check your sources. A lot of the history is propagandized by now. Galileo made unsubtle references to his patron the Pope as a fool, which his rivals in the scientific community caught and took directly to the Pope. With his disgrace they pushed the narrative that his ideas also were condemned. The Church of the time was very receptive to Galileo’s discoveries; its a myth that they had any real commitment to a geo-centric view of the universe. Its also a myth that helio-centrism was really at stake in all of this; I believe Kepler (a Catholic priest or monk IIRC) had demonstrated to the satisfaction of most authorities that the universe was likely heliocentric before Galileo’s time.

        1. You’re right except about Kepler – dude was a Lutheran, who was kicked out of that denomination for not believing some core doctrines. He also refused to become Catholic, which meant he alienated himself from both of the most important churches in his region!

  12. I believe that since the beginning when we were put on this Earth we were purposely left to our own devices to hunger for more knowledge. Because think about it-why aren’t our current conditions the same as they were millions of years ago? Because those men could not just up and build today’s skyscrapers, cars etc. They could’ve been handed this knowledge but they weren’t. So they worked with what they had and future generations improved.
    Same with this; were it not for Galileo how would we know there was life outside of this Earth? There’d be no way. Perhaps someday we’ll be able to even exit the Milky Way.

  13. Gallileo’s great discovery was the moons of Jupiter. The significance of it was that it was proof that the earth was not the only center of rotation of celestial objects.

  14. I call bullshit. So what you’re trying to convey is that we are on some big rock out in the middle of some place called “space”, and this rock conspires in some conscious or subconscious manner, with other such “planets” to circumnavigate the sun in some orderly celestial procession. This Galileo is a nutjob. If this was accurate it would be obviously easy for me to see.

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