|karma level 242040|
Exactly 400 years ago today, on 25 August 1609, the Italian astronomer and philosopher Galilei Galileo showed Venetian merchants his new creation, a telescope – the instrument that was to bring him both scientific immortality and, more immediately, a whole lot of trouble.
A refinement of models first devised in the Netherlands, Galileo's slim, brown stick was puny even by the standards of something one might buy in a hobby shop today. But his eight-powered telescope, and the more powerful models he soon produced, when pointed skywards led Galileo to a series of groundbreaking conclusions.
Galileo's discoveries were, perhaps predictably, not best welcomed by the Catholic church, and he spent the final decade of his life under house arrest.
Receive best posts in your inbox.