The famed Italian astronomer and physicist Galileo Galilei, born in 1564, was a champion of the concept of heliocentrism — the idea that the Earth rotates each day and revolves around the sun. That view put him in direct conflict with the Catholic Church.

The common belief is that Galileo was hounded by the Roman Inquisition for nearly two decades, that he continued to openly espouse his belief in heliocentrism and that he was only spared torture and death because powerful friends intervened. But is that what really happened?

Today, on what would have been Galileo’s 460th birthday, we answer that question with a look back at one of Newsroom’s most-read stories ever.

Read “The Truth About Galileo and his conflict with the Catholic Church.”