before modern science how did astronomers measure sun spots?

Or more specifically, how do we know today what the level of sun spots were in the 16th century?



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    Galileo Galilei observed sunspots in the 16th century, using a telescope of his own design. Due to what we now know about the orbits and paths of most known heavenly bodies, we have also been able to retroactively deduce that some earlier astronomers were actually observing sunspots when they belived they were seeing the planet Mercury pass in front of the sun.

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