Galileo Galilei © Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images
1633 - Galileo’s “confession”
Galileo Galilei, after writing to his friend Ella Diodati about why the Bible should not be treated as literally true, is forced by the Inquisition to “abjure, curse, and detest.” This occurred 13 years after his observations of Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune and Venus using improved telescope designs he developed from Dutch scientist Hans Lippershey’s initial models.
This was the culmination of a conflict between Galileo and the Catholic Church that had been going on for a few decades. At the heart of this conflict was Galileo’s promotion of the Heliocentric theory of Copernicus that the Earth rotated around the Sun. The Church formally declared this view as heresy in favour of the Geocentric theory, that stated that the planets and stars rotated around the Earth.
1675 - Royal Greenwich observatory founded
Commissioned by King Charles II, the Royal Greenwich Observatory begins conducting celestial observations that established Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). The observatory was solely relied upon for the calculation of the time until 1954.
One of the functions of GMT when it was originally set up was to help ships with their navigation, as international trade was beginning to gain momentum after the discovery of “The New World”, or America. It wasn’t actually until 1880 that the UK parliament to decided to adopt GMT as the official time.
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