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Chapter 4:
Precision prior to Telescopes
The nature of light is so subtle that a creative investigator must couple his ingenuity with instrumentation capable of achieving high precision to observe the minute nuances attributable to light. The ancients secured significant data with instruments which might be considered crude if judged by today’s technology. From that data, however, they measured the size of the earth, erected precisely oriented monuments, deduced the height of the atmosphere, conjectured about the formation of rainbows, and studied image formation with lenses and mirrors. Nonetheless, these data were insufficient to permit a full description of what is meant by light. That required instrumentation capable of much greater measurement precision than that achieved by the sixteenth century.
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