Telescope events to celebrate 400th anniversary of Galileo’s discoveries

Published: March 30th, 2009

Category: InsideUF, Top Stories

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two University of Florida astronomers will give a talk about historic and future telescopes Friday as part of a series of events this year celebrating the 400th year anniversary of Galileo’s discoveries.

Also set for Friday: a telescope assembly workshop, a how-to workshop on using telescopes to make observations, and an opportunity for the public to view the stars and planets through the Campus Teaching Observatory.

This year is the International Year of Astronomy commemorating Galileo’s discoveries with the first astronomical telescope invented 400 years ago. In 1609, Galileo turned his new telescope on the night sky to see — for the first time — the craters on the moon, the moons around Jupiter, and the first stars not visible to the naked eye. Also that year, Johannes Kepler first described the laws of planetary motion in his “Astronomia nova.”

Friday’s activities will begin at 6:30 p.m. with a telescope assembly workshop in the lobby of the New Physics Building, corner of Gale Lemerand Drive and Museum Road. Anyone who wants help assembling a telescope is encouraged to attend. Members of the Alachua Astronomy Club will join astronomy department staff and faculty in providing assistance.

At 7:20 p.m., UF astronomy professors Rafael Guzman and Elizabeth Lada will give a talk titled “Unlocking the Mysteries of the Heavens: From Galileo’s Telescope to the Future Generation of Giant Telescopes.” Guzman and Lada will discuss the Gran Telescopio Canarias in the Canary Islands — the giant new telescope owned in part by UF that began scientific observations this month. The talk is set for Room 1002 in the New Physics Building.

Following the talk, at 8:30 p.m., astronomy club and department of astronomy members will provide observing instruction and training. Also, the public will have a chance to observe the heavens with the telescope in the Campus Teaching Observatory. Other astronomy department events may be found at


Vicki Sarajedini,, 352-392-2052

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