Audio description content. These wall displays relate to Galileo.

Panel text content. The Moon comes closer. Almost as soon as the telescope was invented in 1608 it was pointed at the Moon. The great Italian genius Galileo Galilei is widely regarded as the first to do this in 1609. But in fact, Englishman astronomer Thomas Harriot used a telescope to view and sketch the moon several months before Galileo. However, it was Galileo who recognised the shifting shadows of the Moon as craters. He was also the first to see and recognise the largest moons of Jupiter. Night after night he watched and recorded their orbit around the giant planet. Early telescopes were not easy to use, but as they improved, so did the science of studying the skies.

Panel text content. Galileo painted this famous set of six watercolours from his lunar observations in 1609. They are the world’s first realistic close-up images of the moon, showing it’s phases over one month.

Image description. On an A3 sized page, portrait orientation, six dark sepia water coloured images of the moon in different, non-sequential phases, showing the shadow of the earth moving across the face of the moon: a sliver of light at the edge of a darkened sphere, a half dark, half light moon and so on. The detailing is quite fine, the front edge of the shadow is interrupted along it’s line by the varying heights and depths of the surface, which changes the way the shadow falls. Above the panel of text and the watercolour image hangs a painted portrait of Galileo. He is depicted as an older man, balding and with a full but grey beard. His lips are pursed, and combined with the shape of his moustache, a face which might otherwise be merely deep in thought looks surly or tired. He holds a spyglass style telescope in his right hand.

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