Galileo’s Moon Drawings
"Galileo Galilei did not invent the telescope. The honor is usually reserved for Hans Libbershey, a Dutch eyeglass maker, who was at least the first person to apply for a patent, in 1608. But Galileo was a very early adopter, and improver, of the instrument.
In 1609, he made the drawings above ‘from life,’ the very first realistic renderings of the Moon (now housed at the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale in Florence).
Prior to Galileo’s illustrations, virtually no one bothered to represent the Moon with its spots the way it actually appeared.
After his observations, Galileo planned the following year to create an entire series of illustrations, presumably ‘to show how the shadows of individual features changed with the illumination.’
This, however, became unnecessary since ‘even the Jesuit fathers in Rome were convinced that that the Moon’s surface was uneven.
He explained his observations of a coruscated, pitted, and mountainous Moon and included several additional drawings. (He also made scores of drawings of Jupiter and several constellations.)
Like many scholars of his day, Galileo was also an accomplished draftsman, and like scholars still today, he was required to excel at the fine art of self-promotion, forced not only to compete with his contemporaries, but also to persuade his patrons as well as mollify the institutional authorities.”