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What can you discover with Two Small Pieces of Glass?

Two small pieces of glass showing at Hastings Museum planetariumThis full dome show, Two Small Pieces of Glass, puts you in the middle of a modern star party…right from the comfy seats in our planetarium!

Click here for showtimes. As with all regularly scheduled Hastings Museum planetarium shows, Two Small Pieces of Glass is free with paid admission or Museum membership.

In 1608, a German-Dutch spectacle maker named Hans Lippershey aligned a pair of lenses — one in front of the other — and noticed objects viewed through the device looked larger than when viewed with the unaided eye. Recognizing the practical applications of this “Dutch perspective glass,” Lippershey applied for a patent. The Dutch government turned down the application, but nonetheless rewarded him financially for copies of the design.

The following year, a professor at the University of Padua, Italy, learned of the new device and constructed his own versions. After some experimentation, he built an instrument that magnified 10 times. One night, the professor directed his device to the Moon. Commonly believed to have a perfectly smooth surface, the Moon seen through the instrument turned out instead to feature mountains, valleys and craters!

The professor’s name? Galileo Galilei. The instrument was, of course, the telescope.

Galileo’s telescopic observations began a revolution, transforming our views of the cosmos and our place within. It is a revolution which, 400 years later, continues.

Today you can attend star parties where amateur astronomers set up their telescopes for public viewing. Views through such telescopes would certainly have amazed Galileo.

Discover the wonders that even a small amateur telescope can reveal and learn about the scientists that made such views possible by seeing Two Small Pieces of Glass.

Showing now through November 18, 2011, at Hastings Museum planetarium.

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