Page 110

Printed for Joel M. Hawkins befor e columbus, not only demonstr ated that the earth is a globe but measur ed its circumfer ence w ith a pr ecision that is astounding. this r emar k able man a lso estimated the size of the sun and the moon and wor k ed out their approximate distances from us. on the other side of the earth, the maor is of new zealand knew about the rings of saturn and jupiter's moons, and passed this infor mation dow n through the centur ies as part of their legends. yet ther e is no mention of an ything lik e a telescope in their history. how they

h of the basic infor mation about the heavens had been gathered

catalogued long before the first telescope made its appear ance.

has always studied the stars and speculated about their origin

natur e, and dur ing the sw eep of the centur ies he has piled up

ss of k now ledge w ithout benefit of optical aid for his observ-

eye. the planets and their appar ent motions, the wander ers of

e ca lled comets, the groups a nd patter ns of the sta rs, the

n, the earth itself in r elation to its neighbors in space, all ar e

san fr ancisco, usa him they had found a way to br ing a distant church steeple so close

some of his less valuable spectacle lenses, ca me rushing in to tell

year 1608, jan's childr en, w ho ha d appar ently been play ing w ith

mak er w ho lived in middelburg, holland. at some time dur ing the

the cor r ect spelling of his na me. jan lippershey was a spectacle

is k now n of its in ventor that histor ians ar e not even certain of

the telescope ca me into being through a happy accident. so little

an ything as faint as satur n's r ings. lik e man y gr eat in ventions,

gists tell us it is physically impossible for the human eye to discer n

k new this is one of the unsolved myster ies of antiquity, for biolo-

telescopes w ith the production of a pair of wor k able binocul

so expert in the art that he crow ned his efforts at mak ing si

of making various combinations of the new device. he finally bec

and, from that day on, spectacles w er e ignor ed in the fascina

steeple. to his cr edit, he r ealized the importance of w hat he

foot or t wo apart in such a way th at they w er e tr a ined on

in vestigate. he found that they had lined up two of his lens

bother ed, and, again lik e man y fathers, he follow ed them ou

ja n proba bly told them somew h at testily he didn't wa nt t

that they could see birds nesting under the spire. like many fath


infor mation was uncannily accur ate. er atosthenes, born 1700 years


as much a part of r ecor ded history as m a n himself. some of this

SOURCE Âť a mfa portfolio

ntion of the telescope, and to a large measur e this is true. but


hink of the progr ess of moder n astronomy as being due to the



MFA Portfolio