The history of the telescope dates back to the early 1600’s when an Italian mathematician named Galileo Galilei peered through an odd new device he had invented to look at the stars in the night sky. Suddenly, this well known and familiar place revealed itself as a barely exposed mystery. It was then that Galileo knew that his telescope was a ground breaking device and history was made.
This first telescope used the same principle that all telescopes would eventually rely on. That principle held that the combination of the two lenses gathered more light than the human eye could collect on its own. The lenses would focus that light and form an image. Because the image was formed by the bending of light, or refraction, these telescopes came to be known as refracting telescopes, or simply, refractors.
History has shown that telescopes would evolve into powerful tools as the years passed. Refractors and reflectors would become the two basic types of telescope and as technology became more and more advanced, so did the telescopes. They became bigger as astronomers desired to see further and further into the night sky. In fact, in the history of the telescope, there was a time when the size of a telescope was almost cartoonish in proportion.
Modern day history of the telescope has really been made mostly in the field of commercial telescopes and those that are used by the government as well as professional astronomers. Telescopes such as the Hubbel used by NASA are very powerful and make it possible to see images hundreds of light years away.
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Another exciting development in the history of telescopes occurred when manufacturers began to make some models with cameras attached to them. Over the years, this advancement has made for some amazing pictures of the galaxies that exist above us. If you have ever seen a picture of the Milky Way taken with a powerful telescope, the result is absolutely brilliant and breathtaking.
Now, there are millions of people who really enjoy going out on a clear night and looking at the stars, the moon, and the constellations. If Galileo hadn’t made history by having the desire to make the first telescope, we would simply be relegated to looking with our naked eye. Luckily, we don’t have to. Now we have the advantage of a variety of telescopes to meet all our needs – whether it be astronomy as a hobby or astronomy as a job.