sciencehabit writes "When Galileo Galilei shook up the scientific community with evidence of a heliocentric world, he had a little tube fitted with two pieces of glass to thank. But just how this gadget evolved in the nascent days of astronomy is poorly known. That uncertainty has inspired a group of researchers to compile the most extensive database of early refracting telescopes to date. Now, the scientists plan to use modern optics to recreate what Galileo — and the naysaying observers of his time — experienced when they first peered through these tubes at the rings of Saturn, the moons of Jupiter, and the phases of Venus."
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