Galileo is most often associated with the telescope and the discovery of our sun centered system (the “solar” system). It was the early 1600’s and the Roman Catholic Church believed Earth was at the center of the universe. Galileo was able to see phases of the moon (not just Earth, but the moons of Venus and Jupiter). He concluded that the sun must be in the center of our system. If you want to know how many moons Jupiter has, check out this Solar System Exploration site. National Geographic has some amazing images.
In addition, take a few minutes to watch this PBS video on 400 Years of the Telescope. One scientists remarks, “It is extremely important for us to understand all aspects of the variability of the sun” – let’s talk about that.
Chew on this:
Don Ihde, an American philosopher, writes about the telescope as a “mediating technology” in his book, Postphenomenology: Essays in the postmodern context (1993). Drawing on Merleau-Ponty, he sees the telescope and other “technologies” as changing the relationship humans have with world (both revealing and hiding at the same time). What do you think you are unable to see when you look in a telescope (or a photograph for that matter)?
I’m a huge fan of Merleau-Ponty’s philosophy. It’s one of the main reasons I’ve chosen to write about Space and Perspective. I would recommend hearing his talks on YouTube. Here’s one of my favorites about space: