|Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)
was one of the greatest mathematicians and astronomers of all time. Born
in Pisa on February 15, 1564, his work radically altered the scientific
landscape of his time, setting the stage for much of modern science. By
improving the telescope, and by using it to observe the heavens, Galileo
amassed evidence for the Copernican idea that the earth revolves around
the sun, and that the earth is therefore not the center of the universe.
His bold advocacy of the Copernican theory was a challenge to the accepted
thought of the time, and ultimately Galileo was tried as a heretic by the
Catholic Church. He was forced to recant his views, and he spent the last
eight years of his life under house arrest.|
Safely Viewing Sunspots
How did the early astronomers manage
to look at the sun? One of the methods they figured out was projection.
By using a telescope to project a smaller, dimmer image of the sun, they
were able to study the sun at their leisure, with no risk to their eyes.
You can use this method to see sunspots for yourself.
Please be aware that viewing the sun directly (either with the naked
eye or with a telescope) is extremely dangerous.
The safest practical way to see the sun
is by lining up a telescope or binoculars on the sun, but instead of looking
through the eyepiece, hold a sheet of white paper behind the eyepiece. The
solar image is seen projected onto the paper, and you can safely look at
You will need binoculars or a telescope,
a camera tripod, a piece of paper or cardboard to create a shadow, a piece
of white paper on a clipboard, or poster board, for a screen to project
the image on to, and duct tape to hold all the parts in place.
1) First, you should firmly fix the binoculars to a tripod. You can do this
with duct tape.
2) Cut out a shield made of cardboard and
tape it to the front of the binoculars with the lenses sticking through
holes that you cut.
3) Put the lens cap over one of the large binocular lenses or tape over
one of the front lenses with duct tape. (You really only need a monocular