Timeline of telescopes, observatories, and observing technology

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Timeline of telescopes, observatories, and observing technology.


Before the Common Era (BCE)

3500s BCE

1900s BCE

1500s BCE

600s BCE

200s BCE

100s BCE

Common Era (CE)


























Under Construction


See also

Related Research Articles

Infrared astronomy is a sub-discipline of astronomy which specializes in the observation and analysis of astronomical objects using infrared (IR) radiation. The wavelength of infrared light ranges from 0.75 to 300 micrometers, and falls in between visible radiation, which ranges from 380 to 750 nanometers, and submillimeter waves.

Timeline of astronomical maps, catalogs and surveys

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Observatory</span> Location used for observing terrestrial or celestial events

An observatory is a location used for observing terrestrial, marine, or celestial events. Astronomy, climatology/meteorology, geophysics, oceanography and volcanology are examples of disciplines for which observatories have been constructed. Historically, observatories were as simple as containing an astronomical sextant or Stonehenge.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">W. M. Keck Observatory</span> Astronomical observatory in Hawaii

The W. M. Keck Observatory is an astronomical observatory with two telescopes at an elevation of 4,145 meters (13,600 ft) near the summit of Mauna Kea in the U.S. state of Hawaii. Both telescopes have 10 m (33 ft) aperture primary mirrors, and when completed in 1993 and 1996 were the largest optical reflecting telescopes in the world. They are currently the 3rd and 4th largest.

<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">Mount Wilson Observatory</span> Astronomical observatory in Los Angeles County, California, USA

The Mount Wilson Observatory (MWO) is an astronomical observatory in Los Angeles County, California, United States. The MWO is located on Mount Wilson, a 5,710-foot (1,740-meter) peak in the San Gabriel Mountains near Pasadena, northeast of Los Angeles.

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

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">Mauna Kea Observatories</span> Astronomical observatories in Hawaii

The Mauna Kea Observatories (MKO) are a group of independent astronomical research facilities and large telescope observatories that are located at the summit of Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawaiʻi, United States. The facilities are located in a 525-acre (212 ha) special land use zone known as the "Astronomy Precinct", which is located within the 11,228-acre (4,544 ha) Mauna Kea Science Reserve. The Astronomy Precinct was established in 1967 and is located on land protected by the Historical Preservation Act for its significance to Hawaiian culture. The presence and continued construction of telescopes is highly controversial due to Mauna Kea's centrality in native Hawaiian religion and culture, as well as for a variety of environmental reasons.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Palomar Observatory</span> Astronomical observatory in Southern California

Palomar Observatory is an astronomical research observatory in San Diego County, California, United States, in the Palomar Mountain Range. It is owned and operated by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). Research time at the observatory is granted to Caltech and its research partners, which include the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Yale University, and the National Astronomical Observatories of China.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Observational astronomy</span> Division of astronomy

Observational astronomy is a division of astronomy that is concerned with recording data about the observable universe, in contrast with theoretical astronomy, which is mainly concerned with calculating the measurable implications of physical models. It is the practice and study of observing celestial objects with the use of telescopes and other astronomical instruments.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hale Telescope</span> Telescope at Palomar Observatory in California, USA

The Hale Telescope is a 200-inch (5.1 m), f/3.3 reflecting telescope at the Palomar Observatory in San Diego County, California, US, named after astronomer George Ellery Hale. With funding from the Rockefeller Foundation in 1928, he orchestrated the planning, design, and construction of the observatory, but with the project ending up taking 20 years he did not live to see its commissioning. The Hale was groundbreaking for its time, with double the diameter of the second-largest telescope, and pioneered many new technologies in telescope mount design and in the design and fabrication of its large aluminum coated "honeycomb" low thermal expansion Pyrex mirror. It was completed in 1949 and is still in active use.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Paranal Observatory</span> Observatory in Chile

Paranal Observatory is an astronomical observatory operated by the European Southern Observatory (ESO). It is located in the Atacama Desert of Northern Chile on Cerro Paranal at 2,635 m (8,645 ft) altitude, 120 km (70 mi) south of Antofagasta. By total light-collecting area, it is the largest optical-infrared observatory in the Southern Hemisphere; worldwide, it is second to the Mauna Kea Observatory on Hawaii.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Canada–France–Hawaii Telescope</span> Astronomy observatorium

The Canada–France–Hawaii Telescope (CFHT) is located near the summit of Mauna Kea mountain on Hawaii's Big Island at an altitude of 4,204 meters, part of the Mauna Kea Observatory. Operational since 1979, the telescope is a Prime Focus/Cassegrain configuration with a usable aperture diameter of 3.58 metres (11.7 ft).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">James Clerk Maxwell Telescope</span> Radio telescope in Hawaii, US

The James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT) is a submillimetre-wavelength radio telescope at Mauna Kea Observatory in Hawaii, US. The telescope is near the summit of Mauna Kea at 13,425 feet (4,092 m). Its primary mirror is 15 metres across: it is the largest single-dish telescope that operates in submillimetre wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum. Scientists use it to study the Solar System, interstellar dust and gas, and distant galaxies.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Submillimetre astronomy</span> Astronomy with terahertz (< 1 mm)-range light

Submillimetre astronomy or submillimeter astronomy is the branch of observational astronomy that is conducted at submillimetre wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum. Astronomers place the submillimetre waveband between the far-infrared and microwave wavebands, typically taken to be between a few hundred micrometres and a millimetre. It is still common in submillimetre astronomy to quote wavelengths in 'microns', the old name for micrometre.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Royal Observatory, Edinburgh</span> Observatory

The Royal Observatory, Edinburgh (ROE) is an astronomical institution located on Blackford Hill in Edinburgh. The site is owned by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC). The ROE comprises the UK Astronomy Technology Centre (UK ATC) of STFC, the Institute for Astronomy of the School of Physics and Astronomy of the University of Edinburgh, and the ROE Visitor Centre.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Astronomical interferometer</span> Array used for astronomical observations

An astronomical interferometer or telescope array is a set of separate telescopes, mirror segments, or radio telescope antennas that work together as a single telescope to provide higher resolution images of astronomical objects such as stars, nebulas and galaxies by means of interferometry. The advantage of this technique is that it can theoretically produce images with the angular resolution of a huge telescope with an aperture equal to the separation, called baseline, between the component telescopes. The main drawback is that it does not collect as much light as the complete instrument's mirror. Thus it is mainly useful for fine resolution of more luminous astronomical objects, such as close binary stars. Another drawback is that the maximum angular size of a detectable emission source is limited by the minimum gap between detectors in the collector array.

The Ohana project aims to use seven big telescopes on top of Mauna Kea, Hawaiʻi Big Island, in an interferometer configuration. Mauna Kea is a former volcano whose height is 13,600 ft. It is a good site for telescopes which probe the universe in the optical and infrared wavelengths because of its altitude and low levels of light pollution.

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


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  10. John Brian Harley; David Woodward; G. Malcolm Lewis (1992). The History of Cartography: Cartography in the traditional Islamic and South Asian societies. Vol. 2. Oxford University Press. pp. 28–9. ISBN   0-226-31635-1.
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  12. Lorch, R. P. (1976), "The Astronomical Instruments of Jabir ibn Aflah and the Torquetum", Centaurus , 20 (1): 11–34, Bibcode:1976Cent...20...11L, doi:10.1111/j.1600-0498.1976.tb00214.x
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  16. Pedersen, Olaf (2010). A Survey of the Almagest . Springer. pp.  20. ISBN   978-0387848259.
  17. "Taqi al-Din ibn Ma'ruf and the Science of Optics: The Nature of Light and the Mechanism of Vision". Muslim Heritage. 2008-07-15. Retrieved 2021-03-21.
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  21. Keenan, Philip C. (February 1, 1991). "The Earliest National Observatories in Latin America". Journal for the History of Astronomy. 22 (1): 21–30. Bibcode:1991JHA....22...21K. doi:10.1177/002182869102200104. S2CID   117712616.
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  23. 1 2 Spectrometers, ASTROLab of Mont-Mégantic National Park
  24. J. B. Hearnshaw (1996-05-02). The Measurement of Starlight: Two Centuries of Astronomical Photometry . Cambridge University Press. p.  122. ISBN   978-0-521-40393-1.
  25. Khosroshai, Habib (1 May 2018). "Linking a noble past to future challenges". Nature Astronomy. 2 (5): 429. Bibcode:2018NatAs...2..429K. doi: 10.1038/s41550-018-0465-5 .
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