Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei dies in Italy at age 77. Born February 15, 1564, Galileo has been referred to as the "father of modern astronomy," the "father of modern physics" and the "father of science" due to his revolutionary discoveries. The first person to use a telescope to observe the skies, Galileo discovered the moons of Jupiter, the rings of Saturn, sunspots and the solar rotation.
After Galileo published his confirmation that the Earth orbits the Sun, in favor of the Copernican system, he was charged with heresies (ideas that ran counter to teaching of the church) by the Inquisition—the legal body of the Catholic church. He was found guilty in 1633 and sentenced to life imprisonment but due to his age and poor health he was allowed to serve out his sentence under house arrest.