Galileo’s Sidereus Nuncius
or a Sidereal Message

Translated from the Latin by William R. Shea
Introduction and notes by William R. Shea and Tiziana Bascelli

2nd Printing , minor revisions—August 2012, 132 pp., illustrated, paperback, ISBN 978-0-88135-375-4, $14.95

Galileo’s Sidereus Nuncius

An instrument can change the world and compel us to rethink our place in the universe. The telescope did just this, but only when it was used by Galileo, whose eye was prepared to see new things and whose hand was able to depict what he saw. It was not only because Galileo was a gifted and persistent observer, but also because he was an exceptional draughtsman that he was able to discover what others had failed to see or lacked the ability to record. The telescope, invented around 1590 in Italy, was a crude device that enlarged an object four or five times and was little more than a plaything. Galileo saw its potential. He also had the good fortune of having access to the best lenses in Europe, those that were made on the island of Murano near Venice, until the present day the capital of glasswork…From the Preface


“…Shea and Bascelli have produced a very readable translation accompanied by detailed notes and commentary informed by Shea’s long engagement with Galileo’s thought.”—Isis, 101:3 (2010)

“This new, very readable translation of Galileo’s revolutionary work is even more valuable with the comprehensive introduction produced by science historian Shea ( Univ. of Padua, Galileo’s employer at the time of the discoveries revealed in this book) and Bascelli. The introduction is a masterpiece of modern scholarship that traces the telescope from its earlier antecedents to the improvements made by Galileo and beyond…Many of Galileo’s thoughts are clearer with the referencing of additional material from his letters. Astronomers and physicists will gain valuable historical information in this work and science historians will learn about the underlying science of Galileo’s time. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Academic and professional libraries, all levels.”—CHOICE, April 2010

Table of Contents

The invention of the telescope
Sidereus Nuncius or A Sidereal Message

Name Index