The invention of the telescope has been by far the most revolutionary development in the history of astronomy. For thousands of years, astronomers had to rely on their eyes in unravelling the mysteries of the Universe. Then, 400 years ago, something entirely new happened: Galileo turned a telescope to the skies and began observing the Moon, the planets and the stars. The telescope revealed a wealth of astronomical riches unimaginable to the human mind. It also led to a dramatic change in the way we view the Universe and increased our knowledge about the wider world we live in.
In 2009, the International Year of Astronomy, we are celebrating Galileo’s historical and scientific legacy and all the discoveries that have taken place in the intervening years, from the first telescope-based observations to the present, when we are witnessing an explosion of knowledge made possible by new technologies.
This movie explores the saga of the telescope over 400 years - the historical development, the scientific importance, the technological breakthroughs, and also the people behind this ground-breaking invention, their successes and failures. Finally, it provides an overview of future developments, with the very large ground and space telescopes currently being built in order to gather more and more data and to answer the big questions: how did the Universe form? Are we alone in the Universe?
Eyes on the Skies is presented by astronomer Joe Liske from ESO, host of the Hubblecast and ESO video podcasts.