An excellent summary and review but with one (standard) misleading comment in my opinion. You write;
The discovery of Jupiter’s little stars made Galileo resolve to publish quickly, before someone else had the bright idea of turning the new optical device on Jupiter.
Somebody, Simon Marius, already had. In fact all of Galileo's astronomical discoveries were made independently and contemporaneously by other observers, Marius, Harriot, Lembo etc., so if he had never lived it would have had very little influence on the development of astronomy.
posted by Thony Christie
May 2, 2011