Great Astronomers and Their Contributions & Telescopes

The Telescope has a four hundred year history and in this time there have been a lot of astronomers and telescope makers who have built telescopes, made discoveries and advanced astronomy in remarkable ways. These links are to articles written on this website about many of these famous people. This is a list that is being added to over time. If you want a brief overview of the timeline of the telescope I have one here: Timeline of the telescope

Tycho Brahe

Tycho Brahe is considered to be the greatest astronomer without a telescope. He made careful and accurate measurements of the stars, built several observatories that were like palaces, and discovered the first Super Nova.

William Herschel

William Herschel was the Kings astronomer in the 18th century and both he and his sister Caroline made remarkable discoveries with telescopes that he made. He made over 400 telescopes and he also made a telescope that was 49 inches in diameter and for 50 years it was the largest telescope in the world.

James Gregory

James Gregory was a 17th century mathematician and astronomer and he designed the first practical reflecting telescope. The design of his telescope is named after him as “The Gregorian” and it still sees limited use today.

Sir Isaac Newton

Sir Isaac Newton built the first practical telescope in the famous style called “The Newtonian” and this style of telescope is still used today because it is inexpensive, easy to make and easy to use.

Galileo Galilei

Galileo Galilei didn’t invent the telescope but he did turn his telescope and his thoughts to the night sky. This changed the world!

Christiaan Huygens

Christiaan Huygens was a contemporary of Galileo who greatly improved upon Galileo’s design for refractor telescopes. He built some massively long telescopes that were as much as 120 feet. His understanding of optics helped him make these telescopes and he used them to make new discoveries in the universe.

Johannes Kepler

Johannes Kepler was an Astronomer, Mathematician and Optician. He created a new type of telescope and his three laws changed our understanding of how planets revolve around the sun.

William Parsons (Lord Rosse)

William Parsons (Lord Rosse) made the largest telescope of the 19th century and it still stands at the castle today. It is called The Leviathan of Parsons town.

Edwin Hubble

Edwin Hubble was an astronomer and cosmologist who proved that the universe was a lot bigger than previously thought. The famous Hubble space telescope is named after him.