Galileo's telescope travels to th U.S.

For the first time, one of Galileo's telescopes has left Florence to be part of an exhibit in the United States. according to Derrick Pitts, chief astronomer for the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, the 400-year-old telescope, which bears an inscription in the astronomer's handwriting, is “absolutely amazing.”

Ryan Collerd looks at the importance of Galileo and his telescope in an article for the New York Times. Along with the original, the exhibit includes a rare replica. Dr. Pitts and the reporter were permitted to try out the telescope on a Philadelphia rooftop. "Hoisting the long tube to our eyes like pirates or whalers on the lookout for Moby Dick, Dr. Pitts and I traded off, focusing the telescope by sliding the eyepiece in and out while staring at the illuminated tops of Philadelphia skyscrapers. Then we went looking for stars, but there were only clouds. Finally a bright star, which Dr. Pitts identified as Sirius, appeared through a hole in the clouds to the southeast."