Opinion: Giant collisions shake the cosmos

In 1608, the German-Dutch lensmaker Hans Lippershey became the first person to apply for a patent for what we now call the telescope. By combining two lenses, he found that he could make distant objects appear closer than they are. While some lauded the invention for its military applications, Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei turned the telescope to the heavens and opened a new eye on the cosmos. His observations overturned the existing astronomical beliefs of his time.

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