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Galileo, in 1609, began experiments which led to the invention of the telescope. His first instrument had for its tube, a piece of leaden organ pipe, and a magnifying power of three diameters.

In 1611 he visited Rome, and showed the clergy and others the wonders of the skies. Soon they turned on him with violent attacks. The philosopher had openly taught the Copernican system of the universe. The matter was taken up by the Inquisition, and he was summoned to Rome to answer for his teachings. His work was declared heretical and "expressly contrary to the Holy Scriptures." He was forbidden to teach any more that the sun was central, and that the earth revolves around it.

In 1632 he published his "Dialogue on the Two Principal Systems of the World—Ptolemaic and Copernican." For this he was brought to trial again. He was condemned to prison, required to abjure his doctrines, and to recite once each week for three years the seven penitential psalms.

Galileo, at last, consented to recant. He put on sackcloth, got on his knees, and swore on the gospels to renounce his teachings forever. Then, rising, he is said to have uttered, in an undertone, that famous saying, "E pur si mouve"--It moves, for all that!"

— True Stories (Encyclopedia of 15,000 Illustrations) -

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