A telescope is an instrument that is used to magnify objects that are a considerable distance away. It is usually a long tube with a number of glass lenses and mirrors inside. The lens can be adjusted to focus at different distances and are used to focus the light onto a precise spot. This light is then observed through the telescope lens or fed into a computer which produces models of the information collected. Telescopes are mainly used in the area of astronomy and numerous large telescopes exist throughout the world to observe and record stellar phenomenon.
Who invented the telescope?
Most people attribute the invention of the telescope to the famous scientist and astronomer Galileo Galilee. However, this is not the case even though Galileo was the first to use the telescope to observe the sky and he made huge improvements on the original telescopes. The invention of the telescope is credited to a number of people who are thought to have developed the telescope or a version of the telescope around the same time. In the early 1600’s Hans Lippershey and Zacharias Janssen, who were spectacle makers in Middelburg, and Jacob Metius of Alkmaar all created versions of what we now know as the telescope.
Most historians credit the invention to Hans Lippershey who filed the first patent for the telescope in 1608. Lippershey combined a number of curved lenses to create a magnification of up to 3 times and also created sets of binoculars for the government of the Netherlands. Jacob Metius of Alkmaar a city in the northern parts of the Netherlands filed for a patent only weeks after Lippershey so it is possible that he created the telescope first. Zacharias Janssen could have also invented the telescope during his work with curved lens during the early 1600’s.
Galileo heard about these inventions and fashioned his own version of the telescope without even seeing the original. He improved upon the design by using a series of lenses that increased the magnification up to 30 times. These telescopes are known as refracting telescopes. Many of the smaller telescopes that are used today still use this principle.
The large telescopes that are used today make use of a mirror to help reflect the light. These types of telescope are called reflecting telescopes. This is combined with an eyepiece that allows the viewer a much clearer view of the object under study. The inventor of this system was Isaac Newton in 1668.