What does the John Baptist Riccioli biography have to do with the Moon?

The John Baptist Riccioli biography does have something to do with the Moon, and I promise you that by the end of this article, you'll know what that something is.

His biography shows us a man of deep religious devotion. John Baptist was very committed to the Catholic Church. This devotion led him to enter the Jesuit order in the year 1614, and ultimately led him to the study of astronomy.

What's a Jesuit?

I'm glad you asked! Jesuits are a Christian religious order of the Catholic Church. Jesuits serve the Pope directly and are called the "Foot soldiers of the Pope."

John Baptist Riccioli was also an astronomer. His greatest achievement in astronomy is being known as the first person to study the acceleration rate of a free falling object. He also improved upon Galileo's law of the pendulum. What about the Moon, you ask? Don't worry, I'll get to that in a moment!

The John Baptist Riccioli biography started in 1598

John Baptist Riccioli, also known as Giovanni Battista Riccioli, was born in Ferrara, Italy on April 17th in the year 1598. He received a Jesuit education growing up, and eventually, he went on to study at the Jesuit college in Bologna, Italy. He completed a doctorate degree in theology by the age of 16!

Riccioli and astronomy

He began studying astronomy at the request of the Catholic Church. Since Riccioli was a Jesuit astronomer living in the Roman Empire, he had access to astronomical knowledge gathered by Jesuit students in India and China. This knowledge was very useful because Chinese and Indian astronomers tracked lunar and solar eclipses and made detailed maps of celestial objects.

This is where the Moon enters our story. With the information he had access to, Riccioli's friend Francesco Grimaldi created the most detailed lunar map known at that time. What does that have to do with John Baptist Riccioli? He published the map of the moon in a work called Almagestum novum.

He published this work in order to discredit the Copernican theory of Heliocentrism. The reason he opposed the ideas of Nicolaus Copernicus is because the Catholic Church at the time believed Earth was at the center of the Solar System.

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