Did Galileo really see stars?
Galileo Galilei, when he ws buried in 1642 in unconscreated ground, left a few questions behind him. How could a man with such bad eyesight have made such astute observations about astronomy? Also, how did his bad vision affect what he saw and recorded that would become the basis of modern astronomy?
He was reburied in the basilica of Santa Croce in Florence Italy about 100 years later after he was first buried and a woman was buried alongside him, but no one knows who that woman is, still.
Scientists now want to solve all three questions by exhuming Galileo's body and the lady beside him to take samples of DNA for examination.
"From the time of his astronomical discoveries onwards, Galileo wrote to friends and relatives about the trouble he was having with his eyes and the difficulties it created for his observations," said Galluzzi. In his later years he was heavily dependent on his disciple, Vincenzo Viviani. By the end he was blind, or nearly so.
Yet by then he had analysed the spots on the sun, chronicled the lunar mountains and "seas", and discovered the largest of the satellites orbiting Jupiter. Based on his own accounts, it has been speculated that the great Tuscan physicist suffered from uveitis, or inflammation of the middle layer of the eye.
He did explain once that Saturn had bulges on the side of it, rather than rings.
The woman beside him is thought to be his eldest daughter Virginia, but it has never been proved.
This is the International Year of Astronomy, that will mark the 400th anniversary of Galileo's observations.