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Space History: Today in 1610, Galileo Spotted Jupiter's Moon Ganymede

404 years ago, the Italian physicist and philosopher made a discovery that changed astronomy forever
(Space Frontiers/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

On January 11,1610, pioneering astronomer Galileo Galilei directed his newly crafted telescope at the night sky. The Italian scientist spotted one of the four moons that orbit Jupiter, Ganymede.

Later that week, Galileo went on to discover other things in the heavens that would revolutionize human understanding of the universe. He spotted the structure of the Milky Way, our Moon's craters and Jupiter's three other satellites. He also noted Venus's phases and the phenomenon of sun spots. That groundbreaking period, a week 404 years ago, is still considered by many to be the most crucial time in the history of astronomy.

The image of Ganymede shown here was captured by the Galileo spacecraft in 1996.

RELATED ON SKYE: Mind-Blowing New Photos from Space

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dsands1201

And Galileo did it without an ipad, cell phone, internet, satellite or Hubble scope.

January 11 2014 at 1:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
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