Timeline of Telescopes

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  • Galileo

    1.5" lens in simple wooden tube created by Galileo. He has been called the "father of modern observational astronomy". Galileo contributed to astronomy with his observations.
  • Niccolo Zucchi

    Niccolo Zucchi
    Niccolo Zucchi constructs the first reflecting telescope. An alternative to the refracting telescope, the reflector uses curved mirrors. The mirrors allow for larger diameter telescopes to be created.
  • James Gregory

    James Gregory
    James Gregory creates "The Gregorian Reflector". The Gregorian design solved the problem of viewing the image in a reflector. The reflector allows the observer to stand behind the primary mirror.
  • Johaunnes Herelius

    Johaunnes Herelius
    Johaunnes Herelius created a refracting telescope that was 150 feet long. Of the time, this was the largest refractor. This tubed telescope was used to make countless discoveries.
  • Sir William Herschel

    Sir William Herschel
    Hand made reflecting telescope was created by Sir William Herschel and used to discover Uranus. Although this telescope was not very large it was better designed. It could maginify many times greater compared to the refracter.
  • King George III

    King George III
    King George III provided funding for Sir William Herschel to complete a 40 foot telescope in England. Although it was expensive to create, the telescope was used to find two moons of saturn! In addition, he discovered infrared radiation.
  • John William Draper

    John William Draper
    John William Draper produced the first photograph of the moon using the daguerrotype process. The process creates an image made in the camera on a silvered copper plate. This was an imporatant advancement in society.
  • Lord Rosse

    Lord Rosse
    Lord Rosse completed a reflecting telescope in Ireland. With a 6 foot diameter primary mirror, he discovered the first spiral nebulae. He used an enormous 72 inch mirror that he created!
  • Yerkes Observatory

    Yerkes Observatory
    The largest refracting telescope ever built was created at Yerkes Observatory. It is known as the "birthplace for astrophysics". Large in scale, Yerkes is most famous for the refractor.
  • Edwin Hubble

    Edwin Hubble
    Edwin Hubble used the Hooker telescope to determine the distance to Andromeda in 1924. He confirmed the existance of other galxies, besides the milky way. Astronomy is now considered a part of physics and no longer it's own science due to Edwin Hubble.
  • Lowell Observatory

    Lowell Observatory
    The 13" telescope at Lowell Observatory was used to discover Pluto, the outmost "planet" in the Milky Way. Now a national historic landmark, the Lowell Observatory was groundbreaking. Many observations have been made with this smaller 13" telescope. http://www.lowell.edu/
  • Hale Telescope

    Hale Telescope
    200" Hale Telescope has been used to make key discoveries about galaxies and quasars. The largest optical telescope in the world at the time. Maginfied the sky better then any other telescope.
  • Hubble Space Telescope

    Hubble Space Telescope
    The Hubble Space Telescope was lifted into orbit by the space shuttle Discovery. Allowed astronomers to view more easily the sky. Technology improved dramatically.
  • Large Binocular Telescope

    Large Binocular Telescope
    Using two mirrors, the large binocular telescope will answer the remaining mysteries of the solar system. It produces images that are ten times clearer then the Hubble Space Telescope. The mirrors are 8.4 meters in diameter.
  • Fast Fourier Transform Telescope

    Fast Fourier Transform Telescope
    Max Tegmark and Matias Zaldarriaga created the Fast Fourier Transform Telescope. The telescope was digital. The technique is being used in radar applications.
  • James Webb Space Telescope

    James Webb Space Telescope
    The James Webb Space Telescope is scheduled for launch. The telescope will have a 6.5 meter diameter mirror. It is designed to study the orgins of the first stars and galaxies never before seen.
  • Giant Magellan Telescope

    Giant Magellan Telescope
    The Giant Magellan Telescope is scheduled to achieve first light in 2017 and it will have seven solid glass mirrors that will combine to be the equivalent of a 24.5 meter telescope. It will be much larger than anything yet built. The telescope will be approxiamately 960 inches.