Galileo and How He Made Telescopes

He was professor of mathematics at the University of Padua in Italy and a skilled maker of scientific instruments. In June or July 1609 he made at least one telescope that magnified objects by the power of three. By August he had succeeded in making one that could magnify objects by the power of eight.

Demonstrates the Telescope at St. Mark’s in Venice

Late that month he took this newly improved telescope to Venice where he showed it to government officials and other dignitaries. From atop the bell tower of St. Mark’s Basilica in St. Mark’s Square, the men looked at ships at sea. With the telescope, they saw ships two hours before they would have seen them with the naked eye.

Galileo let the assembled men keep the coveted telescope. They gave him lifetime tenure at the university and an increase in salary. Most gathered there were interested in the possible military applications of the telescope. However, it soon became clear that the narrow field of view of Galileo’s telescope would make it ineffective in battle. Furthermore, without the adjustments that would come later, it presented objects upside down. Nonetheless, when Galileo turned his telescopes to the planets and the stars, he made revolutionary discoveries.

Galileo made many telescopes. In the last half of 1609 he made nearly 100. About 10 of those were of very good quality and Galileo used to make his first significant astronomical discoveries in the fall of 1609.. Galileo also made telescopes for others who wanted to study the skies. He made telescopes until about 1640… To Read the Full Article from Suite 101 click here.

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