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InItalian astronomer Galileo Galilei looked up at the heavens using a telescope of his making. And what he saw would forever revolutionize the field of astronomy, our understanding of the Universe, and our place in it.
How exactly did he invent it. How exactly was it an improvement on then-current designs? What exactly did he see with it when he looked up at the night sky? And what has become of it today?
Luckily, all of these are questions we are able to answer. Galileo knew that light from an object placed at a distance from a convex lens created an identical image on the opposite side of the lens. He also knew that if he used a concave lens, the object would appear on the same side of the lens where the object was located.
If moved at a distance, it appeared larger than the object. In the late summer ofa new invention was all the rage in Europe — the spyglass. These low power telescopes were likely made by almost all advanced opticians, but the very first was credited to Hans Lippershey of Holland.
These primitive telescopes only magnified the view a few times over.
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Much like our modern times, the manufacturers were quickly trying to corner the market with their invention. When Galileo heard of this new optical instrument he set about engineering and making improved versions, with higher magnification.
Within a few years, he began grinding his own lenses and changing his arrays. And what he saw, and recorded for posterity, was nothing short of game-changing.
One fine Fall evening, Galileo pointed his telescope towards the one thing that people thought was perfectly smooth and as polished as a gemstone — the Moon.
Nevertheless, a revolution in astronomy had begun! One was off to the west, the other two were to the east, and all three were in a straight line. Sunspotsand seeing Venus change from a full disk to a slender crescent. While Galileo was not the first astronomer to point a telescope towards the heavens, he was the first to do so scientifically and methodically.
Not only that, but the comprehensive notes he took on his observations, and the publication of his discoveries, would have a revolutionary impact on astronomy and many other fields of science. The displays consist of these rare and precious instruments — including the objective lens created by the master and the only two existing telescopes built by Galileo himself.
Despite the fact that astronomers now have telescopes of immense power at their disposal, many still prefer to go the DIY route, just like Galileo!
A replica of the earliest surviving telescope attributed to Galileo Galilei, on display at the Griffith Observatory. Little wonder then why his most prized instrument is kept so well preserved, and is still the subject of study over four centuries later.
We have written many interesting articles on Galileo here at Universe Today.Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers, was a man of many trades — author, printer, statesman and scientist, among others — but he’s best-known today for two images: His mug on the.
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