400 years ago Galileo Galilei first gazed at the skies through a telescope. He was probably the first human to gaze at the brilliant moons of Jupiter, the rings of Saturn and many unseen stars and galaxies. But more than what he saw anything, how he saw what he saw, and how he used these observations have literally changed the world. Instead of submitting to dogma about how objects -or generally the world- should behave, he relied on observations, and a methodology to understand the behavior of objects. He was probably the most important figure in the development of science as we know it. He was also the first astronomer in the Western civilization. In honor of this great mind, UNESCO named 2009 the World Astronomical Year.
I have 2 great sites in the spirit of this year:
* Galaxy Zoo: The number of galaxies in the observable universe are thought to be in 100 billion range. Organizing, and classifying them is a galactical task. It turns out that human eye and mind are far better than the computer tools. Researchers have developed this website, where ordinary citizen-scientists can log in in and categorize galaxies according to their shapes. It is a great way to relax after work. All those galaxies contain millions, if not trillions of stars!
* 365 Days of Astronomy: This is the original daily podcast of the International Year of Astronomy. Great contetns.