Galileos Optical Illusion Mystery Finally Solved by Scientists

Galileos Optical Illusion Mystery Finally Solved by Scientists

A group of neuroscientists state that they have finally discovered the secret behind the optical illusion that perplexed Galileo and numerous other scientists for many decades. Galileo Galilei, who was the Italian physicist and well known astronomer was mystified when he would look at Venus and noticed it appeared much bigger than Jupiter when it was seen with the naked eye but it was just the opposite when the two planets were seen through a telescope. This mystery had also bewildered many other astronomers for decades to come. However in a brand new research study, the neuroscientists have acknowledged the visual illusion that Galileo found and have stated why it occurred.

The team of doctors stated that illusion happens because of the way that human beings distinguish both darkness and also bright light. The new discovery has deepened scientists’ knowledge on how the human brain interprets both black and white items. The research study was led by Jens Kremkow and a team of associates in various laboratories located at the State University of New York College of Optometry.

Galileo was riveted by the fact that the planets appearances were linked to how an individual looked at both of them with bare eyes or with a telescope. When Venus was viewed directly with the simple eye, the planet appeared to grow and have some sort of crown. It seemed almost eight times larger than Jupiter, even though Jupiter was over four times Venus’s size in actuality. Galileo then recognized the illusion was not something that was being created by the telescope but instead was happening within the eyeball. Even though he was able to understand the idea, he was unable to figure out the reasoning behind why this happened in the body.

He wrote that either due to the light being refracted in the dampness that protects the pupil, or because it is mirrored from the edges of the eyelids, these redirected rays are dispersed over the pupil. It was many decades later that other astronomers following Galileo’s lead decided to go ahead and follow his hypothesis. However they still failed to explain why Venus appeared bigger than Jupiter when looked at with the naked eye.

The 19th Century German physicist, Herman von Helmholtz, declared that there had to be more to the eye delusion than only the eye itself. Yet he never was able to give a proper conclusion either.

In the new study, the scientists decided to look at how neurons in the optical area of the brain reacted differently to light versus dark stimuli. They found that the dark stimulus caused results that were neural reaction which signifies the correct size while light ends up showing exaggerated results which make the stimulus look bigger. One test they performed was putting white spots against a black setting. They appeared larger than the exact sized black spots put on a white environment.

By noticing how the neurons were intersected in the retina and into the brain, the scholars were able to see that the illusion resulted from the foundation of vision beginning inside the photoreceptors of the eyeball. These finding was printed up in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

The group of neuroscientists who stated that they have finally discovered the secret behind the optical illusion which perplexed Galileo and numerous other scientists for many decades have solved quite a mystery.

By Kimberly Ruble


Scientific America

Science World Report

The French Tribune

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