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Galileo's telescope into orbit aboard the Shuttle

Galileo's telescope and Hubble


A replica of Galileo’s telescope, provided by the Istituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza, has been launched into the space aboard the shuttle Atlantis STS 125. The shuttle took off on Monday, May 11 from the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral for a 11-day mission aimed at repairing and updating Hubble, the renowned orbiting telescope.
The instrument that 400 years ago dramatically changed the idea of the universe will be side-by-side with a treasure of contemporary astronomy. While the telescope made by Galileo has a lens opening of 1.5 centimetres, Hubble’s mirror lens is 2.4 metres in diameter, that is over 150 times bigger. On the contrary, the difference between the magnifying power of the two telescopes is much bigger: not only 1 to 150, but 1 to one million. Galileo succeeded in seeing mountains and craters of the Moon, the orbiting telescope is able to reach even the hypothetical boundaries of the universe.
This emblematic event marks NASA’s contribution to international celebrations of the Tuscan scientist in the four-hundredth anniversary of his first celestial discoveries, in collaboration with the Istituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza.
The honour of bringing Galileo’s telescope into orbit is committed to veteran spacewalker of Italian origin, Michael “Mike” Massimino. “Bringing Galileo’s telescope into the space is a way to honour my origin,” Massimino declared. “I hope to be able to bring it outside the Shuttle with me and use it for watching the stars. And once on the Earth again I hope to have the opportunity to bring it back to the Museo di Storia della Scienza in Florence.”



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