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Thomas Harriot (Oxford, ca. 1560 - London, 2 July 1621) was the first person to make a drawing of the Moon through a telescope, on 26 July 1609 Thomas Harriot was the first person to make a drawing of the Moon through a telescope, on July 26, 1609, over four months before Galileo.
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Do you think you know who was first to study the Moon?
Discover who really was the first person to study the Moon using a telescope during two special exhibitions being held in Chichester.

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In a display near the entrance to the Science Museum's new exhibition, a group of pen-and-ink sketches of the moon and sun have been hung among an array of old telescopes, models of satellites and other astronomical ephemera. As art, the drawings have no obvious merit, though their executor, Thomas Harriot, was clearly a skilful cartographer. His works have clean, clear lines and exude professionalism.
But take a closer look at the drawing of the moon, on the far left, and note the tiny scrawl that shows its date of completion: 26 July 1609. Thus the drawing of the lunar disc marks its 400th birthday today - a remarkable anniversary, for Harriot's simple sketch turns out to be the oldest astronomical record ever created using a telescope.

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Exhibition of 400 year-old moon drawings
The moon maps, the first ever made from telescope observations, were the work of the English astronomer Thomas Harriot.
The exhibition spans many cultures from the 10th to 21st centuries and looks at the various ways humankind has studied the heavens.

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Celebrating Thomas Harriot, the world's first telescopic astronomer
400 years ago English polymath Thomas Harriot became the first person to look at a celestial object through a telescope. Harriot pointed his simple Dutch trunke telescope at the Moon on 26th July 1609, making simple drawings of our nearest astronomical neighbour from his house in Syon Park in what is now West London.

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'English Galileo' maps on display

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Briton drew pictures of the moon before Galileo
Drawings of the moon completed by British cartographer Thomas Harriot and pre-dating Galileo are to go on public display.

The 17th century "moon maps" by Harriot appear to reveal that the Englishman preceded the famous Italian scientist in viewing the moon through a telescope.

One of Harriot's drawings is dated July 26 1609, six months prior to Galileo's well documented achievement in December 1609.
The lunar drawings by Harriot will form part of an exhibition at West Sussex Record Office in Chichester in July to mark the International Year of Astronomy.


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Thomas Harriot
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Thomas Harriot (c. 1560 - 2 July 1621) was an English astronomer, mathematician, ethnographer, and translator. Some sources give his surname as Harriott or Hariot. He is sometimes credited with the introduction of the potato to Great Britain and Ireland.

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Thomas Harriot moon maps
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A 400-year-old set of "moon maps" created by a little-known Englishman are to go on display to mark the launch of the International Year of Astronomy.
Experts say they prove their creator - Thomas Harriot - beat Galileo to become the first man to view the moon through a telescope.
The Italian philosopher has long been credited with achieving the feat, in December 1609.
But papers at West Sussex Record Office show Harriot managed it months earlier.

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