Washington, August 26 (ANI): Historians have said that Italian mathematician Galileo Galilei’s invention of the telescope was more commercial in nature than an attempt to contribute in scientific progress.
Galileo’s telescope is today remembered as a revolutionary stargazing tool that changed Earth’s standing in the heavens.
According to a report in the National Geographic News, historians have said that when Italian mathematician Galileo Galilei presented his version of the telescope to officials in the Italian city-state of Venice, he was simply seeking a career boost.
Galileo needed a pay raise, in part to support several illegitimate children, according to science historian Alan Chapman of the University of Oxford in the UK.
“He was a rather obscure professor on the make showing a novelty invented by somebody else to his bosses,” Chapman said.
A math professor at the University of Padua, Galileo based his optical instrument on spyglasses developed the previous year by Dutch spectacle makers.
The Venetian Senate was about to purchase one of the popular gadgets when Galileo stepped in with his own version.
Made of wood and leather, Galileo’s telescope had eight-times magnification, a convex main lens, and a concave eyepiece that-unlike other telescopes of the period-presented the image the right way up.
Venice’s interest in the telescope was commercial rather than scientific, according to science historian Alan Chapman of the University of Oxford in the UK.
“The maritime city’s wealth and power was based on overseas trade, and at the time its vessels were being attacked by the Turks,” Chapman said.
To demonstrate the enemy-spotting potential of his telescope, “Galileo took a number of senators up to one of the bell towers in Venice where you can see ships out in the lagoon,” he said.
In 1609, most Europeans accepted the Christian account of creation, which placed our planet at the center of the universe.
Galileo’s telescope overturned this idea by allowing the scientist to observe moon-like phases in the planet Venus, which could only be explained by a sun-centered solar system.
Galileo likewise discovered that Jupiter was orbited by its own moons.
“This established beyond a doubt that the Earth was not the only center of motion in the universe,” said Robert Massey of the Royal Astronomical Society in London.
Galileo’s telescope and astronomical observations also showed the surface of the moon wasn’t smooth, as was believed, and he was the first person to reveal that the Milky Way was composed of stars. (ANI)