How would astronomers and amateur stargazers be able to explore the sun, moon and stars without the help of a telescope? This instrument helps people observe remote objects by collecting electromagnetic radiation (such as visible light). In this article, you will learn about the first telescopes, as well as some of the more well-known observatories around the world.
The First Telescope
The first telescopes in the world were made in 1608. The Dutch-Frenchman Hans Lippershey (1570 ,1619) was a lensmaker that gained a reputation for inventing the telescope. However, it is unclear whether he was the first to construct this important tool for astronomers. Soon after, Galileo built his own version of the telescope and used it to discover the moons of Jupiter. The earliest type of telescope was called a refracting telescope, which produced a slightly distorted image that was called an aberration. Since around 1670, astronomers have relied on reflecting telescopes to analyze the night skies. These pieces of equipment use mirrors that eliminate the issues of distortion.
Large Binocular Telescope , Arizona
The honors for the largest and most advanced optical telescope ever built goes to the Large Binocular Telescope in Arizona. Found at the Mount Graham International Observatory, the telescope possesses two mirrors measuring 331 inches. Together, the mirrors deliver a total area equal to one giant 450-inch mirror in diameter. The telescope is expected to produce images as much as 10 times the resolution of the ones generated by the Hubble Space Telescope, which is much smaller in comparison.
Royal Observatory , London
In London, England, you will find the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, which was founded by King Charles in 1675. Unfortunately, Mother Nature influenced the success of the observatory. Atmospheric and light pollution in London hurt the efficiency of the equipment. In 1884, the Prime (or Greenwich Meridian), 0 degrees, which passes through the observatory, was embraced as the foundation for all mapping and measurements. Measurements of longitude are referred to west or east of the meridian.
Today, the buildings are part of the National Maritime Museum, which includes a great deal of astronomical and navigational tools. It is here that you can catch sight of the longitude marine chronometer of John Harrison. Other features include an example of an electric slave clock, the most accurate pendulum clock ever built, and the 28-inch Grubb refracting telescope of 1893, which is the largest of its kind belonging to the United Kingdom.
Herschel’s Reflector , England
In Slough, England, you will find Herschel’s “forty-foot” reflector which is a giant telescope that has a mirror that measures 48 inches. This telescope was constructed in 1788. The design for the telescope has been dubbed the Herschelian reflector. The primary mirror is tilted so that the observer’s head does not interfere and block incoming light.