Timeline of telescopes, observatories, and observing technology

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Timeline of telescopes, observatories, and observing technology.


Before the Common Era (BCE)

1900s BCE

1500s BCE

600s BCE

200s BCE

100s BCE

Common Era (CE)

























Under Construction


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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.

<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, they were the largest optical reflecting telescopes in the world. They are currently the third and fourth 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>

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">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">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">Navy Precision Optical Interferometer</span> US Navy astronomical interferometer

The Navy Precision Optical Interferometer (NPOI) is an American astronomical interferometer, with the world's largest baselines, operated by the Naval Observatory Flagstaff Station (NOFS) in collaboration with the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) and Lowell Observatory. The NPOI primarily produces space imagery and astrometry, the latter a major component required for the safe position and navigation of all manner of vehicles for the DoD. The facility is located at Lowell's Anderson Mesa Station on Anderson Mesa about 25 kilometers (16 mi) southeast of Flagstaff, Arizona (US). Until November 2011, the facility was known as the Navy Prototype Optical Interferometer (NPOI). Subsequently, the instrument was temporarily renamed the Navy Optical Interferometer, and now permanently, the Kenneth J. Johnston Navy Precision Optical Interferometer (NPOI) – reflecting both the operational maturity of the facility, and paying tribute to its principal driver and retired founder, Kenneth J. Johnston.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Submillimeter Array</span> Astronomical radio interferometer in Hawaii, USA

The Submillimeter Array (SMA) consists of eight 6-meter (20 ft) diameter radio telescopes arranged as an interferometer for submillimeter wavelength observations. It is the first purpose-built submillimeter interferometer, constructed after successful interferometry experiments using the pre-existing 15-meter (49 ft) James Clerk Maxwell Telescope and 10.4-meter (34.1 ft) Caltech Submillimeter Observatory as an interferometer. All three of these observatories are located at Mauna Kea Observatory on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, and have been operated together as a ten element interferometer in the 230 and 345 GHz bands. The baseline lengths presently in use range from 16 to 508 meters. The radio frequencies accessible to this telescope range from 194–408 gigahertz (1.545–0.735 mm) which includes rotational transitions of dozens of molecular species as well as continuum emission from interstellar dust grains. Although the array is capable of operating both day and night, most of the observations take place at nighttime when the atmospheric phase stability is best.

<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.

<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.

In optical astronomy, interferometry is used to combine signals from two or more telescopes to obtain measurements with higher resolution than could be obtained with either telescopes individually. This technique is the basis for astronomical interferometer arrays, which can make measurements of very small astronomical objects if the telescopes are spread out over a wide area. If a large number of telescopes are used a picture can be produced which has resolution similar to a single telescope with the diameter of the combined spread of telescopes. These include radio telescope arrays such as VLA, VLBI, SMA, astronomical optical interferometer arrays such as COAST, NPOI and IOTA, resulting in the highest resolution optical images ever achieved in astronomy. The VLT Interferometer is expected to produce its first images using aperture synthesis soon, followed by other interferometers such as the CHARA array and the Magdalena Ridge Observatory Interferometer which may consist of up to 10 optical telescopes. If outrigger telescopes are built at the Keck Interferometer, it will also become capable of interferometric imaging.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">NASA Exoplanet Science Institute</span>

The NASA Exoplanet Science Institute (NExScI) is part of the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC) and is on the campus of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, CA. NExScI was formerly known as the Michelson Science Center and before that as the Interferometry Science Center. It was renamed NExScI in the Fall of 2008 to reflect NASA's growing interest in the search for planets outside of the Solar System, also known as exoplanets. The executive director of NExScI is Charles A. Beichman.


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