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Interesting Facts About Telescopes

Telescopes have opened the door to many new observations within our universe, providing us with loads of interesting facts. These interesting facts include innovations in technology, discoveries in science, and observations of celestial bodies.

Facts About the Invention of Telescopes 

  • Ancient China and Ancient Greece were the first to observe different scientific facts of optics between 5th-3rd BC.
  • The exploration of optics in Medieval Europe was founded by the translation of the “Book of Optics” written by an Arab scientist Ibn al-Haytham in the 12th Century.
  • Lens makers of Denmark made simple modern telescopes for the first time.
  • Eyeglasses were made in the 13th century for the first time in Italy.
  • The first documented telescope was invented by Dutch spectacle-maker Hans Lippershey.
  • News of telescope invention spread across the world, bringing well-known physicists, astronomers, mathematicians, engineers into the development of telescopes. This includes Galileo Galilei, Johannes Kepler, Christian Huygens, Isaac Newton, and others.

Facts About the History of Telescopes

  • The early use of the telescope was to look for other friendly or enemy ships by the crews on merchant ships.
  • In the 17-19th centuries, the military used telescopes for the first time to track troop movements.
  • On October 2nd, 1608, Hans Lippershey filed for the first telescope patent, which was never granted.
  • Soon after Lippershey filed for a patent, Galileo designed his own, becoming the first to point a telescope skyward.
  • Galileo became popular as his patent was acknowledged by the Royal Society and the European Scientific. However, Issac Newton could make a more powerful scope feasible for scientific use. 

Facts About Space Telescopes

  • The idea of sending a telescope to space was proposed in 1923 and ‘The Hubble Telescope’ was the first space telescope that was launched from the earth in 1970.
  • ‘The Hubble Telescope’ transmits 120 GB of data every week engendered 25% of space images used in all modern research papers so far.
  • The operational cost of ‘The Hubble Telescope’ is more than 16 billion dollars, adjusted for inflation.
  • The James Webb Space Telescope is the perfect successor to the Hubble telescope with larger mirrors and more light-gathering power.
  • Some powerful space telescopes are designed to view celestial objects and events billions of years in the past.
  • The James Webb Telescope is 3 stories tall and as long as a tennis court.
  • NASA developed the Four Great Observatories to cover a broad range of the electromagnetic spectrum from space.

Facts About Modern Telescopes

  • The sizes of telescopes can vary from some inches to a large football field.
  • The largest optical telescopes in the world today have primary mirrors that are 8-10 meters in diameter, and are used to study objects billions of light-years away.
  • The best place for large telescopes is the top of mountains for several reasons like no city light pollution, no flickering of light due to thick clouds, etc.
  • Modern telescopes are connected to the internet so that astronomers from anywhere in the world can access their data and use them remotely.
  • The largest telescope is the “European Extremely Large Telescope” having a primary mirror with a diameter of 39.3m. The second most giant telescope is the “Thirty Meter Telescope” located on Hawaii island.
  • A large array of telescopes can be connected together to collect lights or signals from far distances. Very Large Array (VLA) in New Mexico is a telescope of that type with 27 antennae occupying a diameter of 25 m.
  • Telescopes are of different types depending on the mount and optical design or the observing electromagnetic spectrum (Radio, X-Ray, Optical, Gamma-ray, high-energy particle telescopes).

Facts About Reflector Telescopes

  • Sir Isaac Newton invented the first reflector telescope in 1668.
  • Most space telescopes, like the Hubble Space Telescopes, use reflector designs because they are cheaper and easier to build at large scales.
  • Reflector telescopes can support higher apertures, meaning they can gather more light.
  • The James Webb Space Telescope is currently the largest reflector telescope, surpassing Hubble’s title.
  • Unlike refractors, mirrors in reflector telescopes don’t cause chromatic aberration.
  • Some reflector telescopes allow the users to sit inside the telescope tube.

Facts About Refractor Telescopes

  • The first documented telescope designs, including Galileo’s and Lippershey’s, were refractor telescopes.
  • The biggest refracting telescope in use today was built in 1897 at Yerkes Observatory in Wisconsin.
  • Refractor telescopes are typically easier to maintain because they have closed tubes, which protect it from dust and other elements.

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