Introduction

If you have never looked properly at the sky at night, it’s amazing what you can see just with the naked eye. Before telescopes, humans could only observe the sky in this way.

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Now since their invention, the sky has become many times more accessible. Although most people believe that Galileo invented the telescope, this is stuff of legend and nobody knows for sure who actually did. Galileo however was the first scientist to bring telescopes to prominence. He published his many discoveries and establishing himself as a pioneer in the field.

galileo

Telescopes have been around since the early 1600s when the Dutch invented them. There are two common main types of telescope, reflecting telescopes and refracting telescopes. The other two, lesser known, types are Schmidt-Cassegrain and Newtonian telescopes.

Use Of Telescopes

The purpose of a telescope is to make an object in the distance appear closer Telescopes are mainly used for the purpose of exploring space. They can see for extreme distances in the night sky. Telescopes gather light and condition it to make images visible to the human eye. The light comes from the stars in the night sky and telescopes allow people to examine them.

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History of Telescopes

The first telescopes used lenses to focus the incoming light and amplify it to produce images. These are called refractor telescopes and first emerged in the 17th century in the Netherlands. However reflector telescopes came to prominence just a few decades later and quickly established themselves as the superior instrument.

Modern Telescopes

Telescopes in the modern era are known as reflector telescopes and use a system of curved mirrors rather than lenses. This is primarily because it is a lot easier to make mirrors perfectly smooth than lenses. Mirrors are also considerably lighter than lenses. Although it is possible to machine lenses to a perfectly smooth surface, it is much more difficult to do.

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How Telescopes Work

Reflector and refractor telescopes work in different ways, but both do the same job. They amplify the amount of light that passes from the obect to the eye. Telescopes use two lenses or mirrors to achieve this. The first lens collects light from the object and concentrates it to a focal point. The second (or eyepiece) lens spreads the light over the retina in order to enlarge the object.