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The telescopes above are replicas of ones made by Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) in 1610 after he heard of the invention of the telescope in Holland. With refinements to the design, Galileo went on to make a string of astronomical discoveries, from landmarks on the moon to sunspots and the moons of Jupiter. These were famously incompatible with Catholic cosmology: the church finally apologised in 1992 for forcing Galileo to recant his conclusions.
The Science Museum's replicas were made in 1923 at the Museo di Fisica e Storia Naturale in Florence, Italy, where the originals are still kept.
Photo credit: Science Museum
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