Galileo’s German rival gets glory at last

A crack German astronomer who discovered in the same week as Galileo Galilei that other planets have moons, but was a dunce at publicity, has got glory at last with an online homage in 24 languages.

Simon Marius named the four largest moons of Jupiter, but it took 300 years to belatedly credit him with co-discovering them. He and Galileo, an Italian who had a gift for public relations, were independently studying the night sky with telescopes in 1610. The portal, www.simon—, has just come online, exactly 400 years after Marius (1573—1624) published his book Mundus Iovialis (The World of Jupiter) containing his findings.

It is now known that Galileo, Marius and an English astronomer, Thomas Harriot, all discovered the moons independently in 1610, shortly after the invention of the telescope, but Galileo quickly published his observations and got the credit.

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