From the Greek:tele = far and skopein = to look or see; teleskopos = far-seeing
Hans Lippershey (1570 – 1619) Hi There, I’m German telescope inventor Hans Lippershey! In 1608 after some considerable messing about with optical lenses in my spectacle shop I submitted a patent application for the ‘Dutch Perspective Glass’. It could magnify objects by a factor of three. I never did receive that patent but was amply compensated with a ton of cash! Auf Wiedersehen!
Galileo Galilei (1564 – 1642) Buon Giorno! In 1609 I had heard about Hans Lippershey’s telescope design and decided to build my own. It was great! (a magnification of x33!). It was so great in fact that in 1610 I used it to discover three moons orbiting the planet Jupiter! This supported Nicolaus Copernicus’ idea that the Earth was not the centre of the universe. Unfortunately this got me into trouble with the Catholic Church (who eventually had me put under house arrest for Heresy!). Still, never mind! Ciao!
Refracting TelescopeA refracting telescope (or spyglass)uses the principle of an objectivelens to gather light and an eyepiecelens to focus it. The lenses refract(bend) the light. The greater thequality of the lens, the better theimage.
Sir Isaac Newton (1643 – 1727) Somewhat typically, I, Sir Isaac Newton have improved upon the original refracting telescope design with my new reflecting telescope (built by me in 1670). This uses a big mirror instead of a lens and is much less likely to suffer distortion effects.
William Herschel (1738 – 1822) Hi! I’m William Herschel. In 1781 I discovered The Planet Uranus and in 1789 I used this massive 12m telescope to discover a new moon of the planet Saturn!
William Parsons (1800 – 1867) Hi There! William Parsons, 3rd Earl of Rosse here. In 1845 I built the world’s biggest telescope (it had a 72” mirror!). I used this telescope to show the spiral nature of galaxies, in fact I discovered the Whirlpool Galaxy!
Reflecting TelescopeA reflecting telescope uses asystem of curved mirrors tocollect light. An eyepiece is usedto focus the light for viewing.Nearly all large telescopes arereflectors. They are less likely todistort the images and are easierto make on a large scale.
Grote Reber (1911 – 2002) Gee Whiz! Hi there everyone! It’s me! Grote Reber, the father of Radio Astronomy! Following on from Karl Jansky’s 1933 discovery of radio waves emanating from the centre of the galaxy I built a radio telescope in my back garden in 1937! This enabled me to complete a radio frequency sky map in 1941! This in turn lead to an explosion in radio astronomy at the end of the Second World War.
Jodrell Bank (1966 - ) Hi there! I’m the Lovell telescope at Jodrell Bank in the North West of England. I’m the biggest steerable radio telescope in the world and am personally responsible for the discovery of Pulsars in deep space!
Very Large Array (1980 - ) Hello! I’m part of the Very Large Array radio telescope in New Mexico. We started scanning the skies in 1980. Each dish is 25 meters across and weighs 209 tonnes! These were used to receive radio signals from the Voyager 2 spacecraft as it flew past the planet Neptune! Impressive!
Chandra X-Ray Telescope Hi there, I’m the Chadra X-ray telescope. This image is of me just before I was carried into orbit by the space shuttle. I need to be up there because the Earth’s atmosphere absorbs x-rays. One of my most famous discoveries was a jet of x-rays emanating from a Supermassive Black Hole in the constellation of Sagittarius.
Hubble Space Telescope (1990 - ) Hello, I’m the Hubble Space Telescope! I was launched in 1990 as an orbiting optical telescope. I have a 4m mirror which has allowed me to capture some stunning images of deep space (like these ones on the right). I still need periodic maintenance as I was originally only designed to work for five years!
Telescopes:Observing SpaceA Telescope is a device which makes things visible to thenaked eye which we would not normally be able to see.The Earth’s atmosphere absorbs almost allelectromagnetic radiation (except light, ultraviolet andradio waves). This limits the amount of information wecan collect from space.We need to use satellites to collect data on thewavelengths of the spectrum that are absorbed high inthe atmosphere. We can also use orbiting opticaltelescopes to get clearer views of deep space. Theseorbiting observatories have been used to discover gammaray bursts, pulsars, black holes and extra solar planets.