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Do Today's Telescopes Outperform Galileo's Telescope?

Aug 28, 2008
Since the internet has created easy access to even a hobby such as practical astronomy, we have easy access to telescopes. Even some toy stores sell telescopes. The question comes to mind - do all these telescopes outperform Galileo's telescope. Join me as we take a look.

When Galileo was born, there were no telescopes. There were no stores to go to, to buy a telescope. In fact at that time, the telescope was not invented yet. It was a frontier, like the invention of the computer.

When we think of Galileo, we often think astronomy, but his real life was a bit different at first. Most of Galileo's time and energy was in mathematics and that is what he spent most of his time. In fact he became professor of mathematics at the University of Pisa in 1589.

What made Galileo change from mathematics and physics to a big interest in astronomy was when he heard about the invention of the telescope in Holland in 1609. He managed to build his telescope within a year, and start making observations.

This is what is most interesting, in answering if today's telescopes outperform Galileo's telescope. In 1610 Galileo made observations of Mars and other planets. When he observed Mars, he could not see any surface detail.

It was only in 1636 that the first telescope drawings of Mars were made, by F. Fontana, in Naples. Slowly but gradually, telescopes have advanced to be what they are today! And it is fascinating to know, that the telescope you buy, will likely be a more advanced version of the same telescope that Galileo Galilei or Isaac Newton used!

A point to add is that astronomy is not about the best telescope. In fact some people will see less with an observatory telescope, than they would with Galileo's telescope. The truth is not about the power of the telescope, but rather how you use your eyes, when looking. For example, if you simply look, and not pay enough attention, then you will not get the full benefits of a telescope.

So, the truth is that today's telescopes are much better. But there is something more that needs to go into the equation. And that is how you use your telescope. Galileo may have had the best telescope at the time, but today that telescope is inferior. The point I added in the last paragraph, applies. Also knowing where to look is another point to think about.

Having the best telescope is all good and well, but without knowing where to look, you will not get the most out of the telescope. When buying a telescope, always look to get a practical astronomy book that can help you get the most out of your new telescope.
About the Author
Galileo added much to astronomy, a type of telescope by his design is still available today! Buy Galileo Telescope that can show you the rings of Saturn.
Find discount telescopes and telescopes for sale
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