In his almanac for 1612 and book Mundus Iovalis of 1614, Simon Marius in Germany reported his discovery of moons around Jupiter, which he started writing down in late 1609 in the Julian calendar, which translated to 8 January 1610 in the Gregorian calendar in use by Galileo in Italy. Is Marius to be believed? Galileo certainly did not. But a Dutch jury of experts about three hundred years later reported that they validated the claim that Marius independently discovered the moons of Jupiter one day after Galileo first both saw and wrote down his discovery! There is no doubt that the names Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto came from Marius (to whom they were suggested by Kepler). See JMP's Journal for the History of Astronomy article, 46(2), 218-234 (2015).Marius wrote that he had been observing the moons around Jupiter since November 1609 (Julian), using a neighboring nobleman's telescope, which would mean that he actually saw the Jupiter satellites first (though publish or perish). Whether this feat was technically possible comes down to discussions of the capabilities of telescopes in the early 17th century.The quadricentennial of Marius's book was celebrated in Nuremberg with a symposium that is now in press in German with an English translation expected. One of us (AVH) has recently prepared a complete English translation of Marius's book, superseding the partial translation made 100 years ago. There is no evidence that, whether he saw what we now call the Galilean satellites first or not, Marius appreciated their cosmological significance the way that Galileo soon did. And Marius was certainly the first to publish tables of the moons of Jupiter.We thank the Chapin Library of Williams College and the Huntington Library for assistance with first editions of Marius's 1614 book, and we thank Pierre Leich of the Simon Marius Gesellschaft for his consultations.
AAS/Division for Planetary Sciences Meeting Abstracts #48
- Pub Date:
- October 2016