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Galileo Telescope replicas

The optics, leather and gold tooling of the telescope suggest how scientific instruments were crafted with a combination of engineering expertise and bookbinding arts. Galileo’s telescope included two lenses, an ocular lens near the eye, and an objective lens at the far end of the tube. The lenses were secured within separate tubes, one inside the other, which might “telescope” the instrument longer or shorter as need be to the appropriate focal length. Galileo improved the telescope by crafting his own lenses, grinding a more convex objective lens than the ones available for spectacles.

Two telescope replicas are on display as part of Galileo’s World:

First, the Museo Galileo, in Florence, Italy, provided a Galileo telescope replica to OU for the Galileo’s World exhibition 2015-2016.  It was displayed at Bizzell Memorial Library and at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art.  See also Galileo’s original telescope at the Museo Galileo.

A second telescope replica was fashioned by Tom Huston Orr, Director and James Garner Chair of the Helmerich School of Drama of the Weitzenhoffer Family College of Fine Arts at OU.  This telescope was used as a prop in the production of Galileo’s Torch, a play by James Reston, Jr., which made its world debut in a performance at OU in Spring 2017.  This telescope replica remains on display in Bizzell Memorial Library.

Galileo's World Exhibition Location

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Exhibit Gallery OERs

Art and Astronomy Walking Tour

Art and Astronomy Walking Tour

“What was it like when art and astronomy were intertwined?”

Leonardo da Vinci, Albrecht Dürer, Lorenzo Sirigatti, Galileo... what joins them together?  Why is Galileo's Starry Messenger (1610) displayed alongside Giorgio Vasari's Lives of Eminent Painters and Sculptors

Galileo’s scientific discoveries occurred in the context of a specific artistic culture which possessed sophisticated mathematical techniques for drawing with linear perspective and handling light and shadow.

Do you know someone who received a telescope for Christmas? There's no better way to begin looking through a telescope than to ponder the way Galileo's professional training as an artist prepared him to make his astronomical discoveries.

In the Galileo’s World exhibition, four galleries took their point of departure from Galileo’s Starry Messenger (Sidereus nuncius, 1610):  
• Galileo and Perspective Drawing  
• Galileo and the Telescope   
• The Moon and the Telescope   
• The Sky at Night

These distinct but overlapping galleries were on physical display in different places and combinations during the course of the Galileo’s World exhibition, most notably at the National Weather Center and the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art.  Various books from these galleries are part of the current Rotating Display and the "The Sky Tonight reprise" gallery, including Galileo’s Starry Messenger itself.

Use this handout to aid you in you as you walk through the 2017 Rotating Display and The Sky at Night reprise gallery.