Jan 21, 2009 | 5
The International Year of Astronomy (IYA), now under way, marks the 400th anniversary of the year that famed Italian astronomer Galileo began observing and documenting the heavens with increasingly powerful telescopes.
But in a paper in the current Astronomy & Geophysics, University of Oxford historian Allan Chapman argues that a less renowned astronomical pioneer deserves recognition as well. Thomas Harriot, an English mathematician, apparently turned a telescope to the sky even before Galileo did, producing a moon sketch that Chapman says is "the oldest known drawing of a telescopic body, made nearly four months before Galileo's first drawing."
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