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A Wrangler's Tale

Part III: The Eyes Have It!

Galileo did not invent the telescope. Dutch lens maker Hans Lippershey created the first “spyglass” in 1608. (After being embarrassed in fourth grade by getting this question incorrect in a test, I will never forget this fact.) A year later, Galileo learned of the telescope and improved upon its design. He was probably the first person to use the telescope for astronomical purposes.

With the telescope, we now credit Galileo with discovering mountainous configurations on the moon, the phases of Venus, the moons of Jupiter and the rings of Saturn. In the case of the latter, his telescope did not have the power for him to precisely determine just what exactly the strange features on either side of Saturn represented. He sort of thought they resembled ears.


Now You Can See What Galileo Saw - With Your Own Eyes!


With all of these discoveries, as well as the mathematical laws of planetary motion invented by his contemporary Johannes Kepler, Galileo could not help but agree with Copernicus. Copernicus proposed the Earth moved around the Sun, in deference to the widely held (and official) view the Sun orbited the Earth.

Continue with Part IV - Uh, Oh! Trouble!