Abstract

The Florentine Istituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza houses two complete telescopes and a single objective lens (reconstructed from several fragments) that can be attributed to Galileo. These optics have been partially dismantled and made available for optical testing with state-of-the-art equipment. The lenses were investigated individually; the focal length and the radii of curvature were measured, and the optical layout of the instruments was worked out. The optical quality of the surfaces and the overall performance of the two complete telescopes have been evaluated interferometrically at a wavelength of 633 nm (with a He–Ne laser source). It was found in particular that the optics of Galileo came close to attaining diffraction-limited operation.

© 1993 Optical Society of America

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References

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  1. J. L. Heilbron, W. F. Bynum, “Eighteen-ninety two and all that,” Nature (London) 355, 11–14 (1992).
    [CrossRef]
  2. P. Mazzoldi, ed., “Homage to Galileo,” collection of invited papers, Proceedings of International Conference: From Galileo’s Occhialino to Optoelectronics: Frontiers of Optical Systems and Materials (Cooperativa Libraria Editrice dell’Università di Padova, Padua, 1992).
  3. M. L. Bonelli, “Note about Galileo’s instruments,” in Proceedings of the 1964 Symposium on Galileo (Bemporad Marzocco, Florence, 1967), pp. 125–127.
  4. Von M. v. Ardenne, “Erdfernrohr aus der Hand Galileo Galileis,” Optik 13, 49–52 (1956).
  5. Letter of Galileo to Belisario Vinta, 19 Mar. 1610, in Le opere di Galileo Galilei, National Edition (Barbera, Florence, 1890–1909), Vol. 12, pp. 446–448.
  6. Letter of Galileo to Giuliano de’ Medici, 1 Oct. 1610, in Le opere di Galileo Galilei, National Edition (Barbera, Florence, 1890–1909), Vol. 10, pp. 440–441.
  7. S. A. Bedini, “The makers of Galileo’s scientific instruments,” in Proceedings of the 1964 Symposium on Galileo (Bemporad Marzocco, Florence, 1967), pp. 89–115.
  8. Letter of Galileo to Belisario Vinta, 4 June 1612, in Le opere di Galileo Galilei, National Edition (Barbera, Florence, 1890–1909), Vol. 2, p. 316.
  9. G. Abetti, “I cannocchiali di Galileo e dei suoi discepoli,” L’Universo 4, 685–692 (1923).
  10. V. Ronchi, “Sopra i cannocchiali di Galileo,” L’Universo 4, 791–804 (1923).
  11. V. Greco, G. Molesini, F. Quercioli, “Optical tests of Galileo’s lenses,” Nature (London) 358, 101 (1992).
    [CrossRef]
  12. A. Van Helden, Rice University, P.O. Box 1892, Houston, Tex. 77251 (personal communication).
  13. Letter from Giovanfrancesco Sagredo to Galileo, 28 July 1618, in Le opere di Galileo Galilei, National Edition (Barbera, Florence, 1890–1909), Vol. 12, pp. 400–401.
  14. Letter from Galileo to Antonio de’ Medici, 7 Jan. 1610, in Le opere di Galileo Galilei, National Edition (Barbera, Florence, 1890–1909), Vol. 10, pp. 273–278.

1992

J. L. Heilbron, W. F. Bynum, “Eighteen-ninety two and all that,” Nature (London) 355, 11–14 (1992).
[CrossRef]

V. Greco, G. Molesini, F. Quercioli, “Optical tests of Galileo’s lenses,” Nature (London) 358, 101 (1992).
[CrossRef]

1956

Von M. v. Ardenne, “Erdfernrohr aus der Hand Galileo Galileis,” Optik 13, 49–52 (1956).

1923

G. Abetti, “I cannocchiali di Galileo e dei suoi discepoli,” L’Universo 4, 685–692 (1923).

V. Ronchi, “Sopra i cannocchiali di Galileo,” L’Universo 4, 791–804 (1923).

Abetti, G.

G. Abetti, “I cannocchiali di Galileo e dei suoi discepoli,” L’Universo 4, 685–692 (1923).

Ardenne, Von M. v.

Von M. v. Ardenne, “Erdfernrohr aus der Hand Galileo Galileis,” Optik 13, 49–52 (1956).

Bedini, S. A.

S. A. Bedini, “The makers of Galileo’s scientific instruments,” in Proceedings of the 1964 Symposium on Galileo (Bemporad Marzocco, Florence, 1967), pp. 89–115.

Bonelli, M. L.

M. L. Bonelli, “Note about Galileo’s instruments,” in Proceedings of the 1964 Symposium on Galileo (Bemporad Marzocco, Florence, 1967), pp. 125–127.

Bynum, W. F.

J. L. Heilbron, W. F. Bynum, “Eighteen-ninety two and all that,” Nature (London) 355, 11–14 (1992).
[CrossRef]

Greco, V.

V. Greco, G. Molesini, F. Quercioli, “Optical tests of Galileo’s lenses,” Nature (London) 358, 101 (1992).
[CrossRef]

Heilbron, J. L.

J. L. Heilbron, W. F. Bynum, “Eighteen-ninety two and all that,” Nature (London) 355, 11–14 (1992).
[CrossRef]

Molesini, G.

V. Greco, G. Molesini, F. Quercioli, “Optical tests of Galileo’s lenses,” Nature (London) 358, 101 (1992).
[CrossRef]

Quercioli, F.

V. Greco, G. Molesini, F. Quercioli, “Optical tests of Galileo’s lenses,” Nature (London) 358, 101 (1992).
[CrossRef]

Ronchi, V.

V. Ronchi, “Sopra i cannocchiali di Galileo,” L’Universo 4, 791–804 (1923).

Van Helden, A.

A. Van Helden, Rice University, P.O. Box 1892, Houston, Tex. 77251 (personal communication).

L’Universo

G. Abetti, “I cannocchiali di Galileo e dei suoi discepoli,” L’Universo 4, 685–692 (1923).

V. Ronchi, “Sopra i cannocchiali di Galileo,” L’Universo 4, 791–804 (1923).

Nature (London)

V. Greco, G. Molesini, F. Quercioli, “Optical tests of Galileo’s lenses,” Nature (London) 358, 101 (1992).
[CrossRef]

J. L. Heilbron, W. F. Bynum, “Eighteen-ninety two and all that,” Nature (London) 355, 11–14 (1992).
[CrossRef]

Optik

Von M. v. Ardenne, “Erdfernrohr aus der Hand Galileo Galileis,” Optik 13, 49–52 (1956).

Other

Letter of Galileo to Belisario Vinta, 19 Mar. 1610, in Le opere di Galileo Galilei, National Edition (Barbera, Florence, 1890–1909), Vol. 12, pp. 446–448.

Letter of Galileo to Giuliano de’ Medici, 1 Oct. 1610, in Le opere di Galileo Galilei, National Edition (Barbera, Florence, 1890–1909), Vol. 10, pp. 440–441.

S. A. Bedini, “The makers of Galileo’s scientific instruments,” in Proceedings of the 1964 Symposium on Galileo (Bemporad Marzocco, Florence, 1967), pp. 89–115.

Letter of Galileo to Belisario Vinta, 4 June 1612, in Le opere di Galileo Galilei, National Edition (Barbera, Florence, 1890–1909), Vol. 2, p. 316.

A. Van Helden, Rice University, P.O. Box 1892, Houston, Tex. 77251 (personal communication).

Letter from Giovanfrancesco Sagredo to Galileo, 28 July 1618, in Le opere di Galileo Galilei, National Edition (Barbera, Florence, 1890–1909), Vol. 12, pp. 400–401.

Letter from Galileo to Antonio de’ Medici, 7 Jan. 1610, in Le opere di Galileo Galilei, National Edition (Barbera, Florence, 1890–1909), Vol. 10, pp. 273–278.

P. Mazzoldi, ed., “Homage to Galileo,” collection of invited papers, Proceedings of International Conference: From Galileo’s Occhialino to Optoelectronics: Frontiers of Optical Systems and Materials (Cooperativa Libraria Editrice dell’Università di Padova, Padua, 1992).

M. L. Bonelli, “Note about Galileo’s instruments,” in Proceedings of the 1964 Symposium on Galileo (Bemporad Marzocco, Florence, 1967), pp. 125–127.

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Figures (11)

Fig. 1
Fig. 1

Single objective lens of Galileo, set in an ivory frame carved by Vettorio Croster.

Fig. 2
Fig. 2

Objective lens of telescope I in its mounting.

Fig. 3
Fig. 3

Single lens, not in its frame, reconstructed from fragments after it was broken.

Fig. 4
Fig. 4

Optical layout on scale of the Galileo instruments: (a) telescope I, (b) telescope II, (c) single lens.

Fig. 5
Fig. 5

Typical Nomarski micrograph of the lens surface. The area displayed measures 0.28 mm × 0.20 mm.

Fig. 6
Fig. 6

Interference patterns of telescope I: (a) reflection pattern of the convex surface of the objective, (b) reflection pattern of the plane surface of the objective, (c) reflection pattern of the convex surface of the eyepiece, (d) reflection pattern of the plane surface of the eyepiece, (e) transmission pattern of the overall telescope with normal adjustment, with a plane mirror used as a reference.

Fig. 7
Fig. 7

Interference patterns of the objective of telescope II: (a) reflection pattern of the convex surface, (b) reflection of the plane surface, (c) transmission pattern of the objective, with a spherical mirror as a reference.

Fig. 8
Fig. 8

Interference pattern of the single lens in transmission, with a spherical mirror as a reference.

Fig. 9
Fig. 9

Phase map of telescope I in transmission, as directly measured by the interferometer.

Fig. 10
Fig. 10

Phase distribution of a 37-term Zernike fitting with the data of Fig. 9.

Fig. 11
Fig. 11

Diffraction MTF for telescope I. The spatial frequency, given in cycles per millimeter also reads in cycles per milliradians, resulting from the choice of the overall focal length of 1000 mm obtained with the addition of a perfect dummy lens.

Tables (2)

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Table 1 Optical Specifications of the Lenses of Galileo

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Table 2 Configuration Parameters of the Telescopes

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