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  1. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Galileo was not the first!

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Wreybies, Jan 15, 2009.

    (Jan. 14) -- Galileo Galilei is often credited with being the first person to look through a telescope and make drawings of the celestial objects he observed. While the Italian indeed was a pioneer in this realm, he was not the first.
    Englishman Thomas Harriot made the first drawing of the moon after looking through a telescope several months before Galileo, in July 1609.

    Historian Allan Chapman of the University of Oxford details that 400-year-old breakthrough in astronomy in the February 2009 edition of Astronomy and Geophysics, a journal of the Royal Astronomical Society.

    Chapman explains how Harriot preceded Galileo and went on to make other maps of the moon's surface that would not be bettered for decades.

    The Story

    Harriot lived from 1560 to 1621. He studied at St Mary's Hall (now part of Oriel College), Oxford, achieving his BA in 1580.

    He then became a mathematical teacher and companion to the explorer Sir Walter Raleigh. In the early 1590s Raleigh fell from royal favor and was imprisoned in the Tower of London. Harriot was passed to the patronage of Henry Percy, the Ninth Earl of Northumberland who was himself imprisoned as one of the Gunpowder Plotters in 1605 but continued to support Harriot in his residence at Sion (now Syon) Park, in what is now west London.

    Harriot became a leading force in mathematics, Chapman explains, working on algebraic theory and corresponding with scientists across Europe.

    By 1609, Harriot had acquired his first "Dutch trunke" (telescope), which had been invented in The Netherlands in 1608. He turned it on the moon on July 26, becoming the first astronomer to draw an astronomical object after viewing it through a telescope. The crude lunar sketch shows a rough outline of the lunar terminator (the line marking the division between night and day on the moon, as seen from the Earth) and includes a handful of features like the dark areas Mare Crisium, Mare Tranquilitatis and Mare Foecunditatis
     
  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Really?! With all the Brits on the forum, no interest?? :confused:
     
  3. Ashleigh
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    Ashleigh Contributing Member Contributor

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    Wow. you must have a really high opinion of us, wrey LOL

    *Cockney voice* iiiizzzz eee an educated gent'lman?
     
  4. Xeno
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    Xeno Mad and Bitey Contributor

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    WOW!!! That is so cool.

    I think I's perfectly capturin' the feelin' of Galileo, blud.
     
  5. Carmina
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    Carmina Contributing Member Contributor

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    Galileo went public, so he got all the credit. He also got excommunicated. Fair trade?
     
  6. Xeno
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    Xeno Mad and Bitey Contributor

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    Fair enough, I guess. The (un)plucky Brit had the right idea, then.
     
  7. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    I just thought it was common knowledge that Brits are better :p
     
  8. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hmmm? That what Russians always say about themselves...who's right?
     
  9. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    The difference is that the Russians are off their faces on vodka ;)

    Besides we ruled the world a century back. Then got bored of being in charge of you all, so decided to step back and let you have a go at buggering it up yourselves :p
     
  10. Shadow Dragon
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    Shadow Dragon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Pssh, you brits couldn't even conquer France; not even during the hieght of your empire. :p Also, Galileo was still a lot more important than this Harriot guy. Galileo actually challenged conventional beliefs rather than just keeping things to himself.
     
  11. Daedalus
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    Daedalus Active Member

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    You do realise that it was a different world back then, and that many people were ostracised and even killed for claiming something was different than what was believed?

    Galileo just had the guts to go through with it. And what did he get for it? Ridicule from the Catholic Church, put under house arrest, and all his writings banned from ever being read.
     
  12. Shadow Dragon
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    Shadow Dragon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah, I know that is how it was back then. That is why I have a lot of respect for Galileo and why I consider what he did to be more important than Harriot.
     
  13. Carmina
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    Carmina Contributing Member Contributor

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    Historically, I think Galileo is still more important. He actually influenced history and made contributions to science during his lifetime. For that he suffered greatly. It is cool to know that someone else was doing similar work and even did it sooner. But, he didn't have any influence on history or the development of scientific theory because he kept his findings to himself. He may have been smarter than Galileo (he avoided excommunication after all), but he also failed to have the impact that Galileo had.
     
  14. ValianceInEnd
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    ValianceInEnd Active Member

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    Haha, epic win. That's pretty much how it went down.
     
  15. CommonGoods
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    CommonGoods Senior Member

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    Well, if you think about it...

    he used a -Dutch- telescope...

    So I'm guessing I, being Dutch, should get some credit for helping you brits into history :p
     
  16. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's interesting how people often make the same discovery at almost the same time independently of each other. Maybe, in this case, telescopes were just becoming popular, and it was just a matter of time before an astronomer would choose to direct them at the sky instead of at troops or ships.
     
  17. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Kinda' like VHS & BETA, CD & DAT, HD-DVD & Blueray? :p
     
  18. lordofhats
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    lordofhats Contributing Member

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    XD lol.

    I think the Radio, Electricity, and Flight have the same story.
     

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