Poor Old Galileo Galilei

18 Feb


This is what I saw today.

Moon, Sun and You

The black box represents my window (right next to my easy chair and my mixed drink).

And the moon looked just like that (at 4:00 PM believe it or not). Brightly lit on the top right side and not much to see on the bottom left.

And I said to myself; “Self!  Someone could probably determine the distance of the moon and the sun with a simple triangle.”

And the self replied back to me; “Someone already did that. I think he was an Italian.”

“Oh yeh” I answered to myself. “Someone by the name of Galileo or something like that. He had two names like the Welsh did – – – Tommy Thomas or John Johnson or William Williams.”

But I drift.

So this Galileo guy – – – what could he use this info for. He had to assume a right triangle. Otherwise he wouldn’t be able to figure out anything.

And if he used a right triangle how would he know the values of “A”, “B” or “C”?

Well, I suppose he could estimate the angles – – – and if he had a table of Sines or CoSines and such he could figure out the relationship between “A”, “B” and “C”. But relationships and relativity had not yet been invented (except by my Uncle who said he had relationships out of town.)

So now poor old Galileo had some basic information to work with. And the next day he went out to repeat the experiment. But loe and behold (sort of like alack and alas) the angles all changed. So he went back into his abode and wept bitterly.

And, being a strong willed Italian (just ask the Pope), he decided to double check to see where he may have gone wrong. And VIOLA! just like that the angles changed at the same rate as the day before. And now he not only had the angles figured out but also the rate of daily change of the angles.

And then winter came! Everything started turning upside down and on its head. Poor old Galileo had to start all over again.  (Please ignore my last four sentences which I started with the word ‘And’. Old Mrs. MacElhenny from grade school English would whip me with that rubber hose – – – again – – – if she knew I did such a thing.)

But then Galileo noticed that the pattern was starting to repeat itself, but in reverse order!

And the rest is history science.

And (sorry Mrs. MacElhenny) what did I get out of all this cogitation?

I now know that the moon is more important than the sun!  WHY?

Because the moon comes out at night when it is dark and we need the light while the sun only comes out in the daytime when it is not needed.



3 Responses to “Poor Old Galileo Galilei”

  1. Waldo "Wally" Tomosky February 19, 2016 at 1:48 am #

    Reblogged this on waldotomosky.

  2. Carl D'Agostino February 20, 2016 at 11:37 am #

    The Greeks did it perhaps 3,000 years ago. From a mountain top they could see the curvature of the earth and knowing the distance of the arc let’s say from one island to another and figured size of earth by multiplying that arc by number of times the arc would need to make a circle. They got it close: their estimation came out to be 2/3 of actual size. Columbus knew this and knowing distance of Marco Polo’s trip to China figured he was off the coast of China but his calculations missed that 1/3 extra part of circumference.

  3. Carl D'Agostino February 27, 2016 at 6:32 pm #

    see “The Astronomer” carl dagostino word press

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