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View Diary: Nerd Alert: President Obama Will Introduce Tonight's Premiere Of "Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey" (200 comments)

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  •  And even though he didn't have physical evidence, (7+ / 0-)

    the show was right that he was important for giving others something to try to further disprove once the telescope showed up.

    Which, although they didn't state it directly, would have given people like Galileo reason to go check out those stars once they had telescopes. There's no reason to look at stars if you think they're just spots of light on a sphere, and since they don't move relative to each other there's really no reason for a human to think otherwise just looking up. Andromeda's too far to appear as anything but a dot to our eyes. The Pleiades cluster is interesting but pointing a telescope there will only get you a small stable cluster.

    It takes having reason to point a telescope at as many unmoving dots as you can to find nebulae and galaxies. And that's what Bruno's wild then-untestable theory based on a dream and a passage from Lucretius did, at least according to tonight's episode: it gave every astronomer nominally supporting the church a really good excuse to point a telescope at a few stars every night and find out if any of them looked funny.

    •  Looking at the stars goes back >30K years... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FiredUpInCA, orlbucfan

      Most of the clan was looking at the ground but the Shamans looked at the stars.
      Hunting-foraging is look-at-the-ground work.
      Not to mention what's behind that rock.

      Religious folks back-in-the-day did most of the star-gazing.
      Not anymore.

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