Galileo's Original Telescope At The Nobel Museum In Stockholm & Panerai Jupiterium

Nov 18, 2009,13:33 PM

Press Release

Galileo's Telescope
the Instrument that Changed the World





The exhibition "Galileo's Telescope - The Instrument that Changed the World", created by the Istituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza in Florence and sponsored by Officine Panerai, is open from October 10th, 2009 to January 17th, 2010


STOCKHOLM - On the occasion of the International Year of Astronomy 2009, the Nobel Museum in Stockholm hosts the exhibition "Galileo's Telescope – The Instrument that Changed the World " conceived by the Istituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza in Florence to mark the 400th anniversary of Galileo's first celestial discoveries. The exhibition, opening on October 10th, is adorned by the extraordinary display of one of the only two surviving telescopes made by Galileo and this unique occasion to discover one of the treasures of all time history of science is possible thanks to the financial support of Italian high-end watchmaker Officine Panerai, main sponsor of the exhibition.


Galileo's telescopes are housed in the Museo di Storia della Scienza in Florence. The instrument on show in Stockholm is displayed for the first time outside Italy. The exhibition consists of six sections featuring beautifully crafted replicas of some of the instruments housed in the Museo di Storia della Scienza as well as important documentation and a significant selection of visual material, included extraordinary unpublished photographs taken through Galileo's telescope. Interactive models and multimedia animations help visitors in the understanding of optical and astronomical principles while an extraordinary "Jupiterium ", expressly conceived and realized by Officine Panerai for the exhibition, displays the movements of the Sun, of Jupiter and his moons through a unique, mechanical scale model.


Why is Galileo's Telescope so crucial in the history of science? In 1608, Galileo Galilei heard about a strange optical instrument made by some Dutch spectacle makers. It was a tube equipped with lenses at each end. The Tuscan scientist devoted himself to perfecting this instrument and in a few months he succeeded in making images sharper and increasing the magnification power to 30 times. In the autumn of 1609 Galileo turned his own perfected instrument towards the stars. With the magnified view of his telescope, already known celestial bodies appeared in new and greater detail. He was able to made exceptional discoveries as well. He saw the Milky Way consisting of countless stars, the uneven nature of the Moon's surface, the four satellites orbiting around Jupiter, sunspots, and Venus phases. Galileo immediately understood the tremendous weight of celestial discoveries he made. They provided observational evidence in favour of Nicolaus Copernicus's theory according to which the Earth rotated both on its own axis and around the Sun.


"The exhibition "Galileo´s Telescope – the instrument that changed the world" opens at the Nobel Museum October 10th. The exhibition will be shown until January 2010. During the exhibition we will be able to show one of the original telescopes of Galileo. That is as close as you get to a Mona Lisa in the history of science" says Olov Amelin, Head of Exhibitions at the Nobel Museum.


"The subtitle of the exhibition, The Instrument that Changed the World – says Paolo Galluzzi, Director of the Istituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza in Florence – eloquently expresses the epoch-making effects brought about by Galileo's observations not only in the field of astronomy and more generally science, but also in the fields of philosophy, religion and anthropology. The consequences of that 'earthquake' profoundly marked the development of modern consciousness by disputing ancient and deep-rooted beliefs. None of this would have happened if a man of extraordinary intelligence had not transformed an object sold as a toy in Venice's narrow streets into a scientific instrument".


"We are immensely proud" – says Angelo Bonati, Officine Panerai CEO – "to sponsor this exhibition. We already displayed Galileo's Telescope at the Planetarium in Beijing and at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, and the incredible success we experienced confirms a very strong interest for the Italian genius worldwide".


The Stockholm venue of the exhibition "Galileo's Telescope - The Instrument that Changed the World" depends on the generosity of its current sponsors: Officine Panerai (main sponsor), Swedish National Space Board, Swedish Research Council and Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems.




The Exhibition


As with so many of the decisive discoveries in the history of scientific progress, that of the telescope arose from the observation of relatively common phenomena and objects of which only a brilliant mind can comprehend and develop the enormous potential. Something of this nature took place when in 1609 Galileo Galilei came across a tube closed at each end by a lens, by using which distant objects appeared closer. This was an optical instrument conceived by Dutch spectacle-makers that Galileo transformed in a few months, by increasing its magnification up to thirty times. Then, due to his insatiable scientific curiosity, he pointed that first telescope skyward giving birth to revolutionary astronomical discoveries.


The exhibition "Galileo's Telescope ", making use of a wealth of documents, scientific instruments, interactive models and multimedia animations, tells the story of early optics, the illuminating observations, and the principal consequences of the celestial discoveries made by Galileo thanks to his telescope. The six sections comprising the exhibition are curated by historian of astronomy Giorgio Strano with the assistance of a scientific committee made up of historians of science and technology, physicists, mathematicians and astronomers that includes Filippo Camerota, Paolo Del Santo, Sven Dupré, Paolo Galluzzi, Pier Andrea Mandò, Giuseppe Molesini, Francesco Palla, Albert Van Helden and Marco Verità. Additional contributions to the scientific development of the project were made by the Italian Institute of Nuclear Physics (INFN), the Italian Institute of Applied Optics (INOA), the Astrophysics Observatory of Arcetri and the Experimental Glass Laboratory of Murano.


The first section of the exhibition, "Prehistory of the telescope", covers the long period preceding Galileo's invention and illustrates how, since Antiquity to the Renaissance, the laws of reflection and refraction were known through the study of metal mirrors and glass disks. Also the optical components for making the telescope were present. However, they were never taken beyond the design of spectacles or burning glasses. The production of glass and the working of reflective and refractive surfaces were still of too poor a quality for the manufacture of more complex instruments.


Taking its cue from the first optical instruments made by three Dutch spectacle-makers in 1608, the second section , "Galileo's telescope", focuses on the studies and remarkable modifications which Galileo Galilei made to those rudimentary instruments arriving, a year later, at the actual invention of the telescope, perhaps the most famous of Galileo's scientific instruments. Prior telescopes had a magnification of only 2 to 3 times; Galileo perfected his own handmade lenses until his telescope magnified more than 30 times, allowing the first close-up sightings of the heavens. With his telescope, he was able to look at the Moon, discover four satellites of Jupiter, observe the phases of Venus, and discover sunspots. His discoveries provided observational evidence of the Copernican systems, which states that all the planets, including the Earth, revolve around the Sun. Prior to the Copernican system, it was held that the universe was geocentric, meaning that all the planets, including the Sun, revolved around the Earth.

Replica instruments, facsimiles of handwritten and printed testimonies to the historic astronomical observations made between 1609 and 1611 grant direct access to Galileo's scientific laboratory and, through a comparison with other rare testimonies from the same era, what emerges is their true genius. The Stockholm exhibition is adorned by the extraordinary display of one of the only two surviving telescopes made by Galileo . These are usually housed in the Museo di Storia della Scienza in Florence and have been very rarely displayed outside Italy. This is a unique occasion to discover one of the treasures of all time history of science.


The National Institute of Applied Optics and the National Institute of Nuclear Physics have performed, specifically for this exhibition, a series of scientific studies on the made lenses by Galileo and by the most important Italian manufacturers from the first half of the seventeenth century. The third section of the exhibition, "The quality of Galileo's lenses", shows the results of these studies, which together with the interpretative consultancy of the Experimental Glass Laboratory of Murano have demonstrated the common factors between the white and transparent glass used in various crafted products and that used in the lenses of the first telescopes.


Thanks to the creation of faithful optical replicas of the most important of Galileo's two telescopes mounted onto the "Amici Telescope" at the Astrophysics Observatory of Arcetri, Galileo's astronomical observations have been repeated and the results are presented in the fourth section , "Observing with Galileo's telescope". Use is made of interactive models and replicas, enabling visitors to better understand what it meant to observe the sky through the first telescopes in history and to find out about the special accessories Galileo used in the course of his work, including the micrometer and the helioscope, respectively used to study Jupiter's satellites and to draw sunspots.


In the fifth section , "From Galileo to Newton", the history of optics goes beyond Galileo with an examination of the new model of telescope designed by Johann Kepler on a purely theoretical bases. In particular, this section outlines the material reason that delayed the diffusion of the Keplerian telescope. Indeed, the production of this new model, conceived by Kepler in 1611, began to affirm its superiority only from around 1635 and to the merit of Italian opticians. However, the phenomenon of so-called "chromatic aberration" spurred the makers to create particularly cumbersome instruments such as extra-long or aerial telescopes. They finally disappeared with the conception of the reflecting telescope, the creation of which is credited to Isaac Newton.


The sixth section of the exhibition, "The telescope, measurement of time and longitude", recounts what happened immediately following the celebrated astronomical observations and the fundamental contribution made by Galileo to solving the problem of the measurement of time. Galileo had a marked sense of the practical which directed him towards the tangible applications of his discoveries, which resulted in their multiplication and development in all their intrinsic possibilities. Following the discovery of the satellites of Jupiter and the calculation of their period of revolution, Galileo thought about using them as a cosmic clock to be consulted from any part of the globe. This enabled him to solve the age-old problem of calculating longitude at sea, and to aid telescopic observation by sailors he designed a futuristic helmet, the celatone, on which a spyglass is mounted. Nevertheless, his research did not end here and the ambition for ever greater precision of calculation, made problematic by atmospheric conditions and by the uncertainties of navigation, led Galileo to a study of new instruments that would perfect the measurement of time. Beginning in 1602, Galileo dedicated his studies to the observation of pendulum motion, noting that the oscillations remained of identical duration. This was the law of isochronism – the discovery, absolutely original in the annals of history, of a mathematical rule inherent in a phenomenon of terrestrial physics.


The invention of the telescope and the astronomical observations deriving from it left on hold the studies relating to the measurement of time up to the years in which Galileo concentrated his research on the calculation of longitude. As the final section of the exhibition illustrates, between the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, a debate raged between the supporters of astronomical methods and mechanical methods in the determination of longitude. In short, only careful reflection regarding Galileo's discovery of isochronism led to the creation of mechanical clocks able to work with precision even during long sea voyages. This success is illustrated by the various types of clock that were created in a relatively brief span of time: from the table clocks of the sixteenth century to the pendulum time devices designed by Galileo, from Christiaan Huygens' cycloidal pendulum clock to John Harrison's first marine chronometers.


The overall path mapped out by the exhibition begins with the sky and reaches the Earth. Cross-referencing celestial observations, astronomical calculations and terrestrial measurements, Galileo's telescope tells the story of how events and cosmic time lie at the origin of time as it is used in concrete terms by man. A demonstration of how the brilliant mind of the grand old man of Arcetri was able to grasp the connection between universal events and human necessities. A burst of scientific genius and love for mankind, which 400 years later continues to enjoy the fruits of his discoveries.





Officine Panerai is proud to display three pieces in the part of the exhibition dedicated to The Telescope, measurement of time and longitude , that recounts what happened immediately following the celebrated astronomical observations and the fundamental contribution made by Galileo to solving the problem of the measurement of time.

Panerai Jupiterium


Presented for the first time ever at the Nobel Museum in Stockholm, during installation of the exhibition Galileo's Telescope - The Instrument that Changed the World , the Panerai Jupiterium, conceived and produced by Officine Panerai, is a mechanical instrument showing the positions of the stars, the Sun, the Moon and Jupiter according to the observer's point of view on the Earth.


Considering the particular position of the observer on the Earth, thus, the Panerai Jupiterium has the Earth at its centre with the other celestial bodies moving around it. Jupiter's system comprises the so-called "Medicean Planets" , namely the planet's four main satellites, observed for the first time by Galileo Galilei through his telescope and today known as Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto.


Discovery of the Medicean Planets was announced for the first time by Galileo in his Sidereus Nuncius , published in March 1610, and it had revolutionary consequences on the history of modern thought. The first empirical confirmation of the existence of stars that rotate around a celestial body other than the Earth in fact represented fundamental support for Copernicus' heliocentric theory.


Analysis of the periods and determination of the eclipses of Jupiter's satellites also allowed Galileo to draw up tables for mean motions that provided information helpful for calculating longitudes at sea, an age-old critical problem for sailors before more modern sophisticated instruments like the marine chronograph were invented.


The Jupiterium mechanism has a titanium base and is powered by a perpetual calendar watch, with a 40-day power reserve. The perpetual calendar is one of the most sophisticated applications in toplevel watchmaking, as it determines the exact date, day, month and year without any need for manual regulation, even in leap years.


Produced in only three examples, the Panerai Jupiterium comprises a square wooden base that supports a glass sphere holding the Earth and planets on titanium arms. The constellations of the zodiac are picked out in superluminova on the surface of the sphere, shown as they can be seen from Earth's hemispheres.

Officine Panerai, Marine Chronometer

High precision instrument used to calculate longitude when at sea. It is enclosed in a box, mounted on gimbals and usually used on boats. The gimbals allow the clock to remain in a constant horizontal position even when the boat is moving.


Massive teak wood box

Brushed steel case with polished edges

Polished steel bezel

Panerai OP XX calibre

52-hour power reserve


Officine Panerai, Luminor - 1950s

The watch was made for the commandos of the Italian Navy, fitted with the Panerai device for locking and protecting the crown. In the course of their missions, the commandos had pointed out problems with the water-resistance of the winding crown, frequently subjected to extreme conditions. Panerai therefore designed and patented a device which protects and locks the crown, increasing its resistance to water and shocks.

In addition, this model was characterized by the Luminor, the tritium-base substance to provide luminescence to the numbers, indices and hands.


Steel case, diameter 47 mm

Polished steel bezel

Black dial

Hand wound mechanical movement, Angelus

base, calibre 240, 16 lignes

8-day power reserve


For the rest of the press release in Panerai forum, please

More posts: ChronographClocksLuminorLuminor 1950Luminor ChronoLuminor MarinaMarine ChronometerPAM224PAM233PAM240PAM242Pendulum ClockPerpetual CalendarRadiomir GMT

  login to reply

Comments: view entire thread