The history of the telescope

The history of the telescope is long and complex but I will make sense of it for you here. In the article called "Who invented the telescope?", I tell you that a spectacle maker named Hans Lipperhey is the first person known to have applied for a patent for a simple telescope. He helped to make the telescope common knowledge.

Galileo and his contributions

We can't talk about the history of the telescope without mentioning Galileo Galilei. Galileo was an Italian astronomer, and he is considered to be the father of modern Astronomy. He was the first person to use the telescope for astronomical purposes. He first turned the telescope to the sky in the year 1609. He built a 3 powered telescope in June or July of that year, and by November of the same year he looked to the sky with a 20 powered telescope.

He used his telescope to discover craters on the moon, and he also discovered 4 of Jupiter's moons.

The first great advance in telescope technology

A new kind of telescope, called a reflector telescope was invented by the British scientist Sir Isaac Newton around the year 1670. Newton's telescope used a curved mirror to focus light instead of a glass lense.

Newton designed this type of telescope to correct errors seen in earlier telescopes. Newton's telescope was able to magnify objects many, many times more than previous telescope designs.

Modern telescopes

Advances in technology have enabled us to build very large and complex telescopes that can view celestial objects in very great detail.

The largest Earth-based telescope is called the Keck telescope, and there are 2 of them. They are located on the Hawaiian volcano called Mauna Kea about 4200 meters above sea level. The Keck telescope has a light gathering area that is 10 meters in diameter.

A telescope in space

Sinc we are talking about the history of the telescope, we have to mention the Hubble Space Telescope. The Hubble Space Telescope is the most advanced telescope in history, and it's actually in orbit around the Earth!

This amazing telescope makes breath-taking new discoveries everyday that give us a much better understanding of the universe.

It's hard to believe that the telescope has only been around for a few hundred years when you look at its history.

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