The universe is like a safe to which there is a combination. But the combination is locked up in the safe.

— Peter De Vries

17th-century Brueghel paintings trace the early, mysterious history of the telescope

Thanks to the much-heralded International Year of Astronomy, this much we know: Galileo used a telescope to observe the moon in 1609. But the inventor of the revolutionary resolutionary device remains unknown, and its early history is muddied by simultaneous discoveries and competing claims.
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