Telescopes from the Ground Up
Portrait of Galileo.

Galileo’s Refractor

Galileo was brought to trial by the Church and forced to say he was wrong about the Copernican theory to avoid severe punishment. His book was banned and he was condemned to life imprisonment in his home.

Logically speaking

Despite the Church’s harsh treatment, Galileo never thought that he and his religion were in conflict. The human ability to experiment and reason, he argued, was a great gift.

“I do not believe,” he wrote, “that the same God who has given us senses, and language, and intellect would want [us] to set aside the use of these and … deny our senses and reason, even in the case of those physical conclusions that are placed before our eyes and intellect …”

In the end, Galileo’s approach would prevail. He had used an instrument to extend human senses, made observations, and interpreted their meaning. The telescope, and the wonders it revealed, would become the driving force behind astronomy, and experimentation would become the foundation for scientific knowledge.

In a nutshell...

Galileo’s telescope revealed the first hint of the depths of space. His dedication and approach to explaining what he saw revolutionized astronomy.

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