Galileo’s discovery of the heliocentric solar system
On this date in 1610 Galileo observed for the first time three of the largest moons of Jupiter.
Frye in “The Times of the Signs”:
[T]he only person outside of the Bible who is repeatedly and pointedly alluded to in Paradise Lost is Galileo, whose telescope is brought in several times, in rather curious contexts. Milton is well aware of the view of the universe that Galileo held (he had met Galileo in Italy), and sometimes, in discussing the movements of the heavenly bodies, he puts the Ptolemaic and the Copernican explanations beside each other without committing himself. But it is clear that the older model has more of his sympathy, and from what we have said we can see why: the Ptolemaic universe, however rationalized, is a mythological and therefore essentially a poetic construction, hence it makes poetic sense. Galileo’s world is much more difficult for a poet to visualize. (CW 27, 340-1)