On the 15th of February 1564 in Pisa Italy, Galileo Galilei was born. A skilled mathematician, philosopher, and physicist, Galileo is widely known for his contributions to astronomy. By grinding his own lenses and experimenting with new designs, Galileo greatly improved and popularized the telescope – making possible his own detailed study of the planets. A strong adherence to observation led him to side with Copernicus’ theory of a universe centered around the sun. For this belief, Galileo was accused of heresy and confined to house arrest for the remainder of his life. Galileo’s reliance on observation to further understanding lives on as a foundation of modern science – and a core practice of makers the world over.

2009 is the International Year of Astronomy, 400 years since Galileo’s first observations of the night sky! To learn more of Galileo’s work and how to build your own Galilean telescope check out the following –