Telescope Nerd » Articles » Who Invented The Telescope?

Who Invented The Telescope?

The invention of the telescope is often attributed to Hans Lippershey, a Dutch spectacle maker. Lippershey applied for a patent for his telescope design in 1608, as noted in Lorch’s 2004 study. This marks one of the earliest recorded instances of a functional telescope.

However, the creation of the first practical refracting telescope is credited to Galileo Galilei, an Italian astronomer and physicist. Galileo constructed his telescope in 1609, a year after Lippershey’s patent application. This is documented in Galilei’s own work from 1610. Galileo’s telescope was a significant improvement over previous designs, with a magnifying power of 30x. This allowed him to observe the night sky with unprecedented clarity, leading to several groundbreaking astronomical discoveries.

There were competing claims to the invention of the telescope. Zacharias Janssen, another Dutch spectacle maker, also claimed to have invented the telescope. This is documented in King’s 1955 study. However, the lack of concrete evidence and the significant impact of Galileo’s telescope on the field of astronomy have led to Galileo often being referred to as the “father of modern astronomy.”

Brief history of telescope inventions.

The first patent for a telescope was submitted in the Netherlands by the eyeglass maker Hans Lippershey in 1608. It consisted of a concave eyepiece and a convex objective lens. Lippershey claimed it could magnify up to three times. In 1608 Galileo started improving the new invention. His invention could magnify up to 20 times. Three years later Johannes Kepler suggested a composition of convex eyepiece and convex objective lens is going to improve the telescope. By 1655 powerful telescopes with compound eyepieces were built. Isaac Newton built the first reflector in 1668 and in 1672 Laurent Cassegrain included it in the telescope.

The first commercial telescope is dated back to 1758, built by John Dollond. He used the version of the telescope of Chester Hall from 1733. Until today the reflectors are being improved and larger mirrors are being used.

Throughout the history telescopes had an immense impact on the society and scientific revolution. The history of telescopes starts with the first design of a telescope and evolves into space telescopes.

Timeline of important contributions to telescope invention:

  •     1608 – Hans Lippershey invented the telescope. Galileo Galilei improved it.
  •     1611 – Johannes Kepler improved the telescope’s magnification with changing the eyepiece. 
  •     1655 – Christiaan Huygens built a powerful Keplerian telescope with compound eyepieces.
  •     1672 – Laurent Cassegrain invented the so-called Cassegrain reflector.
  •     1673 – Johannes Hevelius made the largest telescope for its time – 45m focal length with lens with 20cm diameter.
  •     1721 – John Hadley produced larger paraboloidal mirrors. 
  •     1733 – John Dollond uses an achromatic lens to reduce the color displacement.
  •     1857 – The process of silvering glass mirrors by Léon Foucault.
  •     1932 – Aluminized coatings on reflector mirrors.
  •     1910 – Invention of the Rithey-Chretien variant of Cassegrain reflector, used up to this day.
  •     1930 – Bernhard Schmidt invented the Schmidt telescope, fixing the image aberrations.
  •     1965 – John Dobson invented the Dobsonian telescope.

A complete telescope timeline mentions events starting from 470BC to today.

What are the new discoveries about the inventor of telescope?

Some new detective work has brought to light an even earlier record of telescopes. A recently uncovered will shows a brass decorated telescope among the objects given by Don Pedro de Carolona to his widow in Barcelono in 1593. And this predates the Lippershey patent by 15 years. This isn’t proof that Don Pedro invented the telescope, it is just a record showing us that he had one.

This was investigated by a British historian Nick Pelling. He found a Spanish text from 1959 that refers to research by an optometrist called Jose Maria Simon de Guilleuma who investigated claims that a Spanish spectacle maker called Roget invented the first telescope. Simon examined wills of people in the area of Barcelona and the earliest mention of a telescope was the 1593 bequeathment of Don Pedro to his widow. Simon also found a record of a telescope belonging to a Catalan merchant Jaime Galvany. It was sold in auction in 1608.

In Napes a man named Giobvanni Battista della Porta describes the telescope in his 1593 book entitled: De Refractione.

A Florentine named Rafael Gualterotti stated that he built a spyglass in 1590.

Who invented the Newtonian telescope?

The Newtonian telescope can be traced back to 1668. It was built by Isaac Newton in England. It is a reflecting telescope, using a concave primary mirror and a flat secondary mirror. It is the earliest known functional telescope.

Who invented the Dobsonian telescope?

The Dobsonian telescope was invented in 1965 by John Dobson. It is a design of the Newtonian telescope. Mr. Dobson’s telescope was more accessible to amateur astronomers. It made it possible for faint objects such as star clusters or nebulae to be seen.

Who invented the modern telescope?

The modern telescopes are based on the Keplerian telescope. It was invented by Johannes Kepler in 1611. He improved Galileo’s design. It produces an inverted image, but it has higher magnifications than every other telescope. The modern day telescopes gather information from the electromagnetic spectrum, far beyond the range of the visible light.