The Andromeda Flame

On December 15, 1612, astronomer Simon Marius [Mayr or Mayer] became the first modern observer to locate and describe the Andromeda galaxy. Telescopy being in its infancy, however, he detailed how its shape to his eye appeared like that of a candle flame. The technology did not allow the optical resolution required to differentiate the blur he saw as individual stars.

Although he did not understand the workings of the solar system, Marius made some good observations for his day. He made many observations about the same time as Galileo who was convinced Marius was plagiarizing his work. More likely, given the era, they worked on observations available to them by the telescopy of the time. No Twitter or Facebook to announce to the world who had just made what observation.

However it happened, Jupiter’s four moons are known today as named by Marius – Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto. He also recorded a more accurate period of revolution for each than Galileo.

B Bondar / Real World Content Advantage

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