> One source I looked up says that his _Sidereus Nuncius_, which reported the
> initial observations was available in Venice "by 13 March 1610". If we can't
> come up with a better anniversary date, I'd go along with the suggestion of
> 12 March. Anyone else got a better fix on any of this?
In Venice on a holiday in 1609, Galileo heard rumors that a Dutch
spectacle-maker had invented a device that made distant objects
seem near at hand. A patent had been requested, but not yet granted,
and the methods were being kept secret, since it was obviously of
tremendous military value for Holland.
Such an instrument would also be valuable to Venice, and Galileo
determined to attempt to construct his own spyglass. After a frantic
24 hours (according to Galileo) of experimentation, Galileo, working
only on instinct and bits of rumors, never having actually *seen* the
Dutch spyglass, had a 3-power telescope. After some refinement,
he brought (August 1609, 21th) a 10-power telescope to Venice
(San Marco bell-tower) and demonstrated it to a highly impressed
Senate (they could see a distant church, at Padua). Galileo's salary
was promptly raised, and he was honored with proclamations.
[but that was not astronomy]
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