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The Galilean Moons. January 7, 1610.

As a result of the improvements Galileo Galilei had made to his telescope, now with a magnifying capability of 20x, he was able to observe celestial bodies more distinctly than it had been ever possible. On January 7, 1610, Galileo wrote a letter in which he mentioned Jupiter´s moons (actually known as the Galilean Moons) for the first time. At the time, he saw only three of the four and believed them to be fixed stars near Jupiter. In later observations he discovered the fourth moon and observed that they were not fixed stars, but rather bodies orbiting Jupiter. In 1605, Galileo had been employed as a mathematics tutor for Cosimo de’ Medici, and seeking patronage from his now-wealthy former student and his powerful family, used the discovery of Jupiter’s moons to gain it. On F...

The Nativity of Christ. December 25.

Around the Third Century, the date of birth of Jesus was the subject of both great interest and great uncertainty. The Nativity of Jesus Christ, narrated by both Mathew and Luke in the New Testament are prominent in gospels and early Christian writers suggested various dates for the anniversary. Around AD 200, Clement of Alexandria wrote: “There are those who have determined not only the year of our Lord’s birth, but also the day; and they say that it took place in the 28th year of Augustus, and in the 25th day of (the Egyptian month) Pachon (May 20)… Further, others say that He was born on the 24th or 25th of Pharmuthi (April 20 or 21).” Various factors contributed to the selection of December 25 as a date of celebration: it was the date of the winter solstice on the Roman calendar;...

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