Galileo's tech gear

 Images Armillary-Galileo-520
Philadelphia's Franklin Institute is hosting the traveling exhibition Galileo, the Medici and the Age of Astronomy until September 7. To celebrate, Smithsonian Magazine put together a slide show of Galileo's gear, er "Instruments of Discovery." This is an Armillary Sphere. From Smithsonian:
At the center of this instrument sits a globe representing the earth. The bands around it pivot on a common center and illustrate the paths of the sun and moon, known planets and important stars. The device was invented sometime in the last few centuries before Christ, but the sphere became widely used in Europe by a thousand years ago. This armillary sphere dates to 1578.
"Galileo's Instruments of Discovery"


  1. I just went to this exhibit on Saturday – highly recommended. We got 5pm tickets (1/2 the price of the daytime), expecting it to take us 2 hours. They recommended 40-50 minutes and we usually take a while. We ended up being kicked out at 9pm when they closed. We were the only ones left, but the items were so detailed, I don’t know how you could rush through.

  2. We visited the Galileo exhibit at the Franklin Insitute
    earlier this summer. The best and most interesting parts of it were the stunning amount of ornamentation and craftsmanship that went into the navigational and scientific instruments of the time.

    Still, for me, the highlight of the exhibit was the original Galileo telescope, the working one, not the fancy one he gave as a gift to the Medicis. His working telescope even had his notes on its magnification written on it with his on hand.

    Unfortunately the rest of the displays were not very good as they contained spelling errors and had a tendency to pass off paper facsimiles as originals. I had to sneak my picture of the Galileo telescope as there was no photography, not just no flash photography. I actually had a guard stop me. My non flash photography did not hurt anything. I guess the Smithsonian magazine has more pull than me. I still took my picture, though.

  3. I also saw this last Saturday. I’m still thrilled by the fact that I looked through Galileo’s telescope. I had to lay on the floor and look up through the case….I didn’t actually see an image, but photons traveled through the thing into my eye just like they did 400+ years ago for Galileo.

  4. You can see Galileo’s mummified finger in the Science and Technology Museum in Florence, Italy. check it out if your there, hardly anybody goes to this museum they all go to the Uffizi. Giant, 15ft across, armillary spheres too.

  5. I talked to one of the staff there. Everything there was prescribed by the Italian owners of the objects – even the placement of each case. That said, it was a thrill to see the telescope.

  6. Nowhere else. The items come from Florence, where I believe their area in the Uffitzi is currently being remodeled. I think they’re heading home after this.

  7. If you have a chance to ever be in Chicago, visit the Adler Planetarium and History of Astronomy museum. Their collection includes everything here with the exception of Galileo’s telescope (they do have a reproduction). In many cases, the Adler’s collection exceeds this one.

  8. The fact that this 1578 armillary sphere has survived intact to the present day is amazing.

  9. Galileo. Written 1972
    This song has been around for awhile, and I think this is the fourth
    recorded version of it. Maybe fifth. To find out learning is fun.
    I guess that is the point.
    My kids who sang on this version, told me that now they know
    about Galileo because they memorized the lyrics to this song.
    I wondered if that could happen, way before my own children
    showed up, and low and behold, it could and did. There are a
    couple more of these type of tunes, as Galileo was originally
    part of a series. Get a real job Issac (Newton), and Socrates
    you’re a tease. (boom, splash:-)

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