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Telescope Timeline

 

  • 1593 - A Spanish man, in his will, bequeaths his telescope to his widow. Don Pedro de Carolona in Barcelona Spain. This isn't telling us that he invented the telescope, just that he had one before the traditionally accepted 1608 date of its invention. (more info here)
  • 1608 - Hans Lippershey applies for a patent for a refractor telescope
  • 1609 - Galileo Galilei makes a refractor telescope and turns it to the skies
  • 1616 - Niccolo Zucchi constructs the first reflecting telescope
  • 1630 - Christoph Scheiner constructs a keplerian telescope based on Keplers design
  • 1650's - Christiaan Huygens improves on the design of the refractor telescope and build some large scopes
  • 1663 - James Gregory designs the first reflector telescope but does not build one for several years because of difficulties in construction technique. This style of telescope is called "The Gregorian Reflector".
  • 1668 - Sir Isaac Newton builds the first workable reflector telescope
  • 1672 - Laurent Cassegrain improves on the Gregorian design by creating the Cassegrain telescope
  • 1721 - John Hadley produces the first workable Gregorian telescope
  • 1733 - Chester Hall designs and builds the first achromatic lenses which dramatically improved the performance of refractor telescopes
  • 1789 - William Herschel builds the largest telescope of the 18th Century. It was a giant reflector with a mirror that was 49 inches wide.
  • 1895 - The largest refractor in history is completed at the Yerkes Observatory at the University of Chicago in Williams Bay, Wisconsin. The 40 inch lens was built by Alvan Clark.
  • 1908 - The 60 Inch Mount Wilson reflector is completed
  • 1910's - George Willis Ritchey and Henri Chretien co-invent the Ritchey-Chretien telescope which is a design used in many modern observatory telescopes.
  • 1917 - The 100 inch Hooker telescope is completed
  • 1924 - Edwin Hubble used the 100" Hooker telescope to find Cepheid variable stars in the andromeda galaxy. This allowed him to scientifically orive that it was outside the milky way galaxy. This was a significant event in that the size of the universe was proven to be much larger than only our milky way galaxy. The milky way became just one galaxy among many others.
  • 1944 -Dmitri Dmitrievich Maksutov invents the Maksutov telescope
  • 1948 - The 200 Inch Hale reflector at Mount Palomar observatory is completed
  • 1950's - The Dobsonian style telescope is credited as having been invented by John Dobson
  • 1965 - the 238 Inch Large Alatazimuth Telescope in Russia is completed
  • 1990 - The Hubble Telescope was launched into space. This telescope has brought us images and information that is unprecedented. It is a Ritchey Chretien design and has a primary mirror that is 2.4 meters wide (94.5 inches)
  • 1995 - The Hubble telescope takes the deep field image which is arguable the most profound astronomical image ever taken, along with the Hubble Ultra deep field (2003-2004) and Hubble Deep Field Sount (1998)
  • 2005 - The Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) achieves first light. This telescope has the largest single piece of glass mirrors. Each mirror is 8.4 meters (330 inches) in width and when used together they create the equivalent of a mirror that is 11.8 meters (464 inches) across which is currently the largest light collecting size on Earth. It is located in Mount Graham International Observatory in Arizona
  • 2005 - The South African Large Telescope (SALT) achieves first light. It has a segmented primary mirror that is 10.4 meters in diameter (409 inches)
  • 2013 - The James Webb Space Telescope is scheduled for launch. It will have a 6.5 meter diameter mirror.
  • 2017 - The Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) is scheduled to achieve first light. It will have an array of seven solid glass mirrors that will combine to be the equivalent of a 24.5 meter (80 foot) telescope. Which will make it much larger than anything yet built. (Appproximately 960 inches!)

 

 

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