Today, on February 15, astronomy lovers celebrate Galileo Day. In today’s article, we’ll talk about who Galileo was and give tips on how you can join the celebration.

Especially for Galileo Day, we’ve prepared a fun and educational quiz about great astronomers of the past — you should definitely check it out and test your knowledge about astronomy!

Who was Galileo, and what did he discover?

Galileo Galilei (February 15, 1564 — January 8, 1642) was an outstanding Italian scientist who made significant contributions to astronomy, physics, engineering, and mathematics. His astronomical achievements include the telescopic confirmation of the phases of Venus, the observation of the four largest moons of Jupiter, the observation of Saturn’s rings, and the analysis of sunspots. He’s often called the “father of observational astronomy”, because he was the first person to use a telescope to observe celestial bodies.

Galileo also supported Copernican heliocentrism, which was considered a heretical teaching by the Catholic Church. Because of his scientific views about the model of the Universe, he was condemned by the Inquisition and sentenced to imprisonment and then house arrest for the rest of his life. He was also forced to publicly recant the Copernican theory. There’s a legend that after recanting, Galileo said the phrase “And yet it moves!” meaning: “despite my recantation, the Earth does move around the Sun and not vice versa!”.

How to celebrate Galileo Day?

On February 15, on Galileo’s birthday, people around the world celebrate an unofficial holiday in honor of this great scientist. The best way to celebrate Galileo Day is to gather your friends for a dinner party and then take part in some activity connected with astronomy — like going stargazing together or taking a quiz.

If it’s too cold outdoors, you can watch the night sky from home with the Star Walk 2 app! No matter if you’re inside or outside, this app will help you see and identify the stars and constellations above your location — just launch the app and point your device at the sky.

Another app that will allow you to dive into the world of astronomy without leaving home is Solar Walk 2. It’s a beautiful 3D planetarium with realistic models of celestial objects and lots of scientific facts about them.

We wish you a happy Galileo day and successful observations!