THE GALILEO’s ANAGRAMS
From Carlo Frabetti’s book: "I giardini cifrati"
In August 1610, Galileo sent a secret message to the ambassador of Tuscany in Prague,
Giuliano de' Medici.
The text, an incomprehensible sequence of 37 letters,
anagram of the phrase that announced its last astronomical discovery, was the following:
In this way, Galileo safeguarded the paternity of its discovery without to reveal it openly,
what he made only after three months. The hidden meaning of the message was:
ALTISSIMUM PLANETAM TERGEMINUM OBSERV
(I have observed the highest planet in triple shape).
The highest planet was Saturn (Uranus and Neptune have not yet be discovered)
and Galileo, because of the insufficient power of his telescope,
had taken the extremes of its ring for a pair satellites.
Meanwhile Kepler has attempted to decipher the anagram,
arriving to a solution that he self defined "appalling latin verse":
SALVE UMBISTINEUM GEMINATUM MARTIA PROLES
(Hello, furious twins, sons of Mars).
So come Kepler to the conclusion that Galileo had discovered a pair satellites around Mars.
The amazing of the case is, that Mars, as we today know,
has in fact two little moons, of whose existence whether Kepler nor Galileo could have any notice.
To distinguish them, they had required much more powerful telescopes
than the ones existing to that time (in fact, they have been discovered only in 1877).
But this is only the half of the history !
december of the same year, Galileo sent another anagram to Giuliano de' Medici.
This time it was a matter of an intelligible phrase:
HAEC IMMATURA A ME IAM FRUSTRA LEGUNTUR OY
(I read in vain these things, not still mature)
After a month, Galileo revealed to the ambassador the solution of the anagram:
CYNTHIAE FIGURAS AEMULATUR MATER AMORUM
(The mother of the love emulates the shapes of Cynthia).
The Mater amorum was naturally Venus, and Cynthia the Moon.
Galileo had discovered that the second planet showed cyclical phases
analogous to the lunar phases, and that constituted the proof that it turned around the Sun.
Also in this case Kepler had tried to decipher the anagram,
and again had found a different solution:
MACULA RUFA IN IOVE EST GYRATUR MATHEM, ECC
(There is a red spot on Jupiter, that turns mathematically).
And again, the "false" solution of Kepler turned out to be true!
Jupiter has, in fact, a great red spot that turns in regular way, "mathematical",
and that would not have been discovered until 1885 - nearly three centuries after -
when the Newton telescope was perfected.
How to explain this double coincidence?
The probability that an anagram of more than thirty letters admits by pure chance
a second meaningful arrangement, and that such intruder meaning corresponds to a real fact,
unknown in the moment in which the message was written and deciphered,
is so small that obligates to think to a hidden explanation.
And that this succeeds two consecutive times is nearly miraculous.