Timeline of telescope technology

Last updated

The following timeline lists the significant events in the invention and development of the telescope.



2560 BC to 1 BC

1 AD to 999 AD

1000 AD to 1999 AD

A replica of Galileo's telescope Galileo telescope replica.jpg
A replica of Galileo's telescope
A replica of a second reflecting telescope Newton presented to the Royal Society in 1672 (the first one he made in 1668 was loaned to an instrument maker but there is no further record of what happened to it). Newton telescope replica 1668.jpg
A replica of a second reflecting telescope Newton presented to the Royal Society in 1672 (the first one he made in 1668 was loaned to an instrument maker but there is no further record of what happened to it).
The Oldest Observatory in the Americas is found in Bogota, Colombia (1803). Observatorio nacional sede centro.jpg
The Oldest Observatory in the Americas is found in Bogotá, Colombia (1803).

2000 CE to 2025 CE

See also

Related Research Articles

Timeline of telescopes, observatories, and observing technology.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ritchey–Chrétien telescope</span> Specialized Cassegrain telescope

A Ritchey–Chrétien telescope is a specialized variant of the Cassegrain telescope that has a hyperbolic primary mirror and a hyperbolic secondary mirror designed to eliminate off-axis optical errors (coma). The RCT has a wider field of view free of optical errors compared to a more traditional reflecting telescope configuration. Since the mid 20th century, a majority of large professional research telescopes have been Ritchey–Chrétien configurations; some well-known examples are the Hubble Space Telescope, the Keck telescopes and the ESO Very Large Telescope.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Yerkes Observatory</span> Astronomical observatory in Wisconsin, USA

Yerkes Observatory is an astronomical observatory located in Williams Bay, Wisconsin, United States. The observatory was operated by the University of Chicago Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics from its founding in 1897 to 2018. Ownership was transferred to the non-profit Yerkes Future Foundation (YFF) in May 2020, which began restoration and renovation of the historic building and grounds. Re-opening for public tours and programming began May 27, 2022.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">History of the telescope</span>

The history of the telescope can be traced to before the invention of the earliest known telescope, which appeared in 1608 in the Netherlands, when a patent was submitted by Hans Lippershey, an eyeglass maker. Although Lippershey did not receive his patent, news of the invention soon spread across Europe. The design of these early refracting telescopes consisted of a convex objective lens and a concave eyepiece. Galileo improved on this design the following year and applied it to astronomy. In 1611, Johannes Kepler described how a far more useful telescope could be made with a convex objective lens and a convex eyepiece lens. By 1655, astronomers such as Christiaan Huygens were building powerful but unwieldy Keplerian telescopes with compound eyepieces.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Refracting telescope</span> Type of optical telescope

A refracting telescope is a type of optical telescope that uses a lens as its objective to form an image. The refracting telescope design was originally used in spyglasses and astronomical telescopes but is also used for long-focus camera lenses. Although large refracting telescopes were very popular in the second half of the 19th century, for most research purposes, the refracting telescope has been superseded by the reflecting telescope, which allows larger apertures. A refractor's magnification is calculated by dividing the focal length of the objective lens by that of the eyepiece.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Optical telescope</span> Telescope for observations with visible light

An optical telescope is a telescope that gathers and focuses light mainly from the visible part of the electromagnetic spectrum, to create a magnified image for direct visual inspection, to make a photograph, or to collect data through electronic image sensors.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Reflecting telescope</span> Telescopes which utilize curved mirrors to form an image

A reflecting telescope is a telescope that uses a single or a combination of curved mirrors that reflect light and form an image. The reflecting telescope was invented in the 17th century by Isaac Newton as an alternative to the refracting telescope which, at that time, was a design that suffered from severe chromatic aberration. Although reflecting telescopes produce other types of optical aberrations, it is a design that allows for very large diameter objectives. Almost all of the major telescopes used in astronomy research are reflectors. Many variant forms are in use and some employ extra optical elements to improve image quality or place the image in a mechanically advantageous position. Since reflecting telescopes use mirrors, the design is sometimes referred to as a catoptric telescope.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Objective (optics)</span> Lens or mirror in optical instruments

In optical engineering, an objective is an optical element that gathers light from an object being observed and focuses the light rays from it to produce a real image of the object. Objectives can be a single lens or mirror, or combinations of several optical elements. They are used in microscopes, binoculars, telescopes, cameras, slide projectors, CD players and many other optical instruments. Objectives are also called object lenses, object glasses, or objective glasses.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Newtonian telescope</span> Type of reflecting telescope

The Newtonian telescope, also called the Newtonian reflector or just a Newtonian, is a type of reflecting telescope invented by the English scientist Sir Isaac Newton, using a concave primary mirror and a flat diagonal secondary mirror. Newton's first reflecting telescope was completed in 1668 and is the earliest known functional reflecting telescope. The Newtonian telescope's simple design has made it very popular with amateur telescope makers.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Eyepiece</span> Type of lens attached to a variety of optical devices such as telescopes and microscopes

An eyepiece, or ocular lens, is a type of lens that is attached to a variety of optical devices such as telescopes and microscopes. It is named because it is usually the lens that is closest to the eye when someone looks through an optical device to observe an object or sample. The objective lens or mirror collects light from an object or sample and brings it to focus creating an image of the object. The eyepiece is placed near the focal point of the objective to magnify this image to the eyes. The amount of magnification depends on the focal length of the eyepiece.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Niccolò Zucchi</span> Italian Jesuit, astronomer, and physicist

Niccolò Zucchi was an Italian Jesuit, astronomer, and physicist.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cassegrain reflector</span> Combination of concave and convex mirrors

The Cassegrain reflector is a combination of a primary concave mirror and a secondary convex mirror, often used in optical telescopes and radio antennas, the main characteristic being that the optical path folds back onto itself, relative to the optical system's primary mirror entrance aperture. This design puts the focal point at a convenient location behind the primary mirror and the convex secondary adds a telephoto effect creating a much longer focal length in a mechanically short system.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">History of optics</span>

Optics began with the development of lenses by the ancient Egyptians and Mesopotamians, followed by theories on light and vision developed by ancient Greek philosophers, and the development of geometrical optics in the Greco-Roman world. The word optics is derived from the Greek term τα ὀπτικά meaning 'appearance, look'. Optics was significantly reformed by the developments in the medieval Islamic world, such as the beginnings of physical and physiological optics, and then significantly advanced in early modern Europe, where diffractive optics began. These earlier studies on optics are now known as "classical optics". The term "modern optics" refers to areas of optical research that largely developed in the 20th century, such as wave optics and quantum optics.

The Gregorian telescope is a type of reflecting telescope designed by Scottish mathematician and astronomer James Gregory in the 17th century, and first built in 1673 by Robert Hooke. James Gregory was a contemporary of Isaac Newton. Both often worked simultaneously on similar projects. Gregory's design was published in 1663 and pre-dates the first practical reflecting telescope, the Newtonian telescope, built by Sir Isaac Newton in 1668. However, Gregory's design was only a theoretical description, and he never actually constructed the telescope. It was not successfully built until five years after Newton's first reflecting telescope.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Telescope</span> Instrument that makes distant objects appear magnified

A telescope is a device used to observe distant objects by their emission, absorption, or reflection of electromagnetic radiation. Originally it was an optical instrument using lenses, curved mirrors, or a combination of both to observe distant objects – an optical telescope. Nowadays, the word "telescope" is defined as a wide range of instruments capable of detecting different regions of the electromagnetic spectrum, and in some cases other types of detectors.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Newton's reflector</span> First successful mirror telescope

The first reflecting telescope built by Sir Isaac Newton in 1668 is a landmark in the history of telescopes, being the first known successful reflecting telescope. It was the prototype for a design that later came to be called the Newtonian telescope. There were some early prototypes and also modern replicas of this design.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Aerial telescope</span> Tubeless telescope (17th century)

An aerial telescope is a type of very long focal length refracting telescope, built in the second half of the 17th century, that did not use a tube. Instead, the objective was mounted on a pole, tree, tower, building or other structure on a swivel ball-joint. The observer stood on the ground and held the eyepiece, which was connected to the objective by a string or connecting rod. By holding the string tight and maneuvering the eyepiece, the observer could aim the telescope at objects in the sky. The idea for this type of telescope may have originated in the late 17th century with the Dutch mathematician, astronomer and physicist Christiaan Huygens and his brother Constantijn Huygens, Jr., though it is not clear if they actually invented it.

The Galileoscope is a small mass-produced refractor telescope, designed with the intention of increasing public interest in astronomy and science. It was developed for the International Year of Astronomy 2009. It is meant to be an inexpensive means by which millions of people can view the same things seen by Galileo Galilei, such as the craters of Earth's Moon, four of Jupiter's moons, and the Pleiades. The small telescope has an aperture of 50 mm (2.0 in) and a relatively long focal length of 500 mm, for a focal ratio of f/10.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Great refractor</span>

Great refractor refers to a large telescope with a lens, usually the largest refractor at an observatory with an equatorial mount. The preeminence and success of this style in observational astronomy defines an era in modern telescopy in the 19th and early 20th century. Great refractors were large refracting telescopes using achromatic lenses. They were often the largest in the world, or largest in a region. Despite typical designs having smaller apertures than reflectors, great refractors offered a number of advantages and were popular for astronomy. It was also popular to exhibit large refractors at international exhibits, and examples of this include the Trophy Telescope at the 1851 Great Exhibition, and the Yerkes Great Refractor at the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago.


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