"Through much of the Scientific Revolution, between 1650 and 1750, Catholic churches were the best solar observatories in the world. Constructed initially to solve the pressing problem of providing an unquestionable date for Easter, the instruments that made the churches' observatories also threw light on the disputed geometry of the solar system." "A tale of politically canny astronomers and cardinals with a taste for mathematics, The Sun in the Church explains the unlikely accomplishments of the Church-sponsored observers. It engagingly describes Galileo's political overreaching, his subsequent trial for heresy, and his slow and steady rehabilitation in the eyes of the Catholic Church. Despite the Church's prohibition against advocating sun-centered astronomy, Italian clerics managed to teach and advance it. Heilbron describes, with dry wit, the diplomatic discretion on all sides that allowed them to do so."--Jacket.