Free Essay About The Stargazer: History Of The Modern Telescopes
Telescopes are popular nowadays to the common people because it enables them to observe the sky clearly. Astronomers consider the telescope as one of the most important tools needed to observe the universe, mainly to study the different constellations, and heavenly bodies of the outer space. Most of these objects are too distant to see by the naked eye so experts in astronomical studies rely heavily on telescope observations. Man’s continuous hunger for astronomical knowledge led to the so-called ‘Outer Space Race,’ originally spearheaded by Russia, United States, Japan and even China. Observing the universe outside the Earth provides a great deal of opportunity to better understand the origins of the universe. Likewise, telescopes became the most powerful tools of the industry. Astronomy is probably one of the ancient sciences. Historical records claimed that people began seriously observing the heavenly bodies about 5,000 years ago. The Babylonians who lived in the early years of the Middle Eastern civilization left detailed records of their observations along with the Egyptians (Kerrod, 4). The early astronomers only observe the night sky using their naked eye, without any aid of modern scientific instruments and yet, even today, their observations are still valuable to modern scientists. Hence, I would like to argue that the invention of the telescope served as a catalyst for further scientific studies, not only during the ancient times but also in the modern age as well.
Although Galileo Galilei became the first man to observe the night sky using a telescope, he was not the person who invented it. According to Kerrod, the telescope was invented in 1608 by a Dutchman named Hans Lippershey who was actually a man specializing in mirrors (4). It was said that Galileo did not had the chance to see the actual telescope invented by Lippershey but he first heard of its features in May, 1609 (King, 34). Galileo was opposed to the traditional Aristotelian views. He teaches Mathematics at Padua and lived in Venice, Italy when he first heard a rumor of an invention by a Dutchman that allows people to study the night sky and observe the constellations and heavenly bodies. Although this information was quite vague, Galileo received a confirmation letter from a Frenchman named Jacques Badovere (King, 34). Indeed, the night sky is one of the most gorgeous and mysterious sights in nature. Tiny sparkling stars dotted the velvet sky; and on some occasions, shooting stars cross the black sky. For people, studying the heavenly bodies presented an enigma to them because the night sky was the only place left unexplored by man in the early 16th century. Galileo’s enthusiasm towards the new ‘contraption’ was great; despite the fact that he did not see the actual telescope, he constructed his own device based on the rumors he heard. Eventually he successfully made his own telescope while staying in his observatory in Padua (King, 34). In 1609 and 1610, Galileo became extremely obsessed in studying the heavenly bodies using his telescope. He spied the various moons of Jupiter, the largest planet in the Solar System, Moon’s craters, and Sunspots (Kerrod, 4). The Galilean telescope was quite small, which limits him to observe the vast universe of heavenly bodies. There were two types of telescopes: the Galilean and the Keplerian telescope. The Galilean telescope is a terrestrial telescope which uses a weak positive objective lens and a strong negative eyepiece lens separated by the difference of their focal lengths. The Galilean telescope forms an upright and erect image of the subject (Wilkinson, 64). On the other hand, Keplerian telescopes have a weak positive objective lens and a strong positive eyepiece lens as well. The lenses are separated by the sum of their focal lengths; this type of telescope forms an inverted image and thus, this device requires the aid of a prism to make it a terrestrial telescope. Keplerian telescopes are also known as astronomical telescopes whilst Galilean telescopes are called terrestrial (Wilkinson, 64). However, modern telescopes still use the principles of the Galilean and Keplerian systems. The terrestrial telescopes are often classified into radio and light telescopes. Radio telescopes have huge metal dishes and a revolving base which can be tilted to any direction. The dishes pick up radio waves emitted by the stars. These radio waves or signals are transmitted into a receiver and interpreted by a computer through image displays (Kerrod, 5). On the other hand, light telescope uses the light or the electromagnetic spectrum to display images of a heavenly body. The Space Age eventually gave way to the invention of the space telescopes. One of the most notable space telescopes in the world is the Hubble Space Telescope. According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Hubble Telescope was originally a part of the Discovery Space Shuttle launched in April 25, 1990. In April 24, 2010, the Hubble celebrated its 20th anniversary in orbit; its invention sparked the people’s interests in exploring the outer space and currently, the Hubble conducts five serving missions for equipment upgrade (NASA.gov., n.p.). Space telescopes have made outstanding scientific discoveries. Because they are located outside the Earth, these devices can obtain excellent and high quality photographs and videos of heavenly bodies compared to the telescopes of Earth. As a conclusion, without Lippershey, the invention of the telescope will not be possible. Without the telescope, man will still remain ignorant about the universe. Indeed, the telescopes are the catalysts of the Space Age; through tubes and glasses, man can only marvel at the astonishing sights of the outer space.
Kerrod, Robin. Grolier Questions and Answers: Stars and Planets. London: Kingfisher Publications, 2003, Print.
King, Henry C. The History of the Telescope. New York: Dover Publications Inc., 2003. Print.
Myers, J.D. The Hubble Space Telescope. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 2012. Web. 17 January. 2015.
Wilkinson, Mark E. Essential Optics Review for the Boards. Coralville, IA: FEP International, 2006. Print.