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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Happy Birthday, Telescope!


400 years ago today, an invention was made that would change the world forever. Invented on August 25th, 1609, by the Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei, the telescope would forever revolutionize the world of science!

Originally born as a spyglass, the first "telescopes" were quite simple. They typically only had magnifications of 3x or so. Galileo's first telescope was also quite simple, having a magnification of only 8x. He later refined the design of this telescope to have a magnification of 20x. Galileo used these telescopes to make such important observations as the Moon's surface, the Moons of Jupiter, the phases of Venus, and Sunspots. Galileo even noted "appendages" on Saturn, which turned out to be the giant planet's famed ring system.

So celebrate this birthday by getting your telescope out and observing Jupiter or the Moon! Today's telescope technology is much more advanced than in Galileo's time, but remember where it came from, it's simple beginnings as homemade spyglasses!

Happy 400th Birthday, Telescope!!

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