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February 15th in Astronomy and Space Science
Birth1564Italian astronomer, philosopher and mathematician Galileo Galilei born. He improved upon the refracting telescope and was one of the first to use it to study the heavens. He discovered mountains and valleys on the moon, the four larger moons of Jupiter, sunspots, and the phases of Venus and Mercury. His discoveries provided crucial evidence for the Copernican theory that the Earth orbits the Sun and not vice versa. His support for this theory landed him in a trial before the Spanish Inquisition in 1633.
Unmanned Spaceflight1992The Japan Space Agency's Hiten spacecraft (also called Muses-A) goes into lunar orbit.
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