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by GordieL
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Telescopes were first patented by three Dutchmen, Hans Lippershey, Zacharias Jansen and Jacob Metius, in 1608. It is unknown which of these men was the first to invent the telescope, but it is believed by some that they all contributed. Lippershey's telescope had three-times magnification and had a concave eyepiece aligned with a convex objective lens.Galileo Galilei found out about the earlier versions of the telescope, and made one of his own, improving on the original design in 1609. He was the first man to look into the vastness of space with his telescope, and discovered that the moon had mountains and craters, that the Sun had sunspots and that Jupiter had it's own set of moons. He was also the first to see the light of our galaxy, the Milky Way.That was the invention of the Refracting Telescope, or Refractor. The Reflecting Telescope, which is used more commonly for astronomical purposes now, was invented by Isaac Newton in 1668. As Newton discovered from his work with prisms, refracting telescopes suffer from chromatic abberation, which distorts the image and changes some colours. He used mirrors to reflect the light and bypass that problem.

Hubble Space Telescope, used to see very distant celestial objects.Click here for more information about the Hubble Space Telescope!

Diagram showing how Reflecting Telescopes work

A brief video on the history and future of telescopes.

Telescopes are most commonly used for astronomy now. They are used to explore space beyond what the human eye can see so we can get a better understanding of our universe.Uses for telescopes on earth include bird watching, hunting, surveillance and other activities where you might want to get a good view of something from a distance.

Diagram showing how Refracting Telescopes work

Small telescope used to look at terrestrial objects.

Click here for more information about how telescopes work!

Telescope VS Binoculars

Advantages:- Can be controlled through a computer and can make digital images- More commonly used for celestial viewing- More 'professional'- Used to focus on one small area of sky- Better for the experienced astronomerDisadvantages:- Narrower Field of View- Uses only one eye, image is less sharp- Less comfortable to keep one eye closed- More assembly involved, more pieces- More expensive- Not as good for scanning the skies

Advantages:- Wider Field of View- Using both eyes creates a better image- More comfortable to use both eyes- Easier to start using for the less experienced astronomer- Less assembly, generally a single piece- Cheaper- Used to quickly scan a portion of skyDisadvantages:- More often used for terrestrial viewing- Used only for human viewing, images can't be transferred to a computer- Not so good for focusing on a specific part of sky




Cox, L. (2013, July 13). Who Invented the Telescope? Retrieved February 28, 2015, from do telescopes let us see so far into space? (2014, June 18). Retrieved February 27, 2015, from, S. (n.d.). Reflecting vs. Refracting Stargazing Telescopes. Retrieved March 1, 2015, from, E. (2015, January 2). Advice for New Astronomers. Retrieved February 28, 2015, from, N. (2009, October 1). Who Invented the Telescope. Retrieved February 28, 2015, from, J. (2014, January 28). Leason to How does a telescope work!! Retrieved February 28, 2015, from


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