Monday, July 14, 2008

Galileo's Telescope

Galileo Galilee used a basic version of the telescopes that are used widely today. Galileo used a refracting telescope and used two lenses, a concave and a convex lens inside a tube. Convex lenses have edges that curve inwards. That's what the typical magnifying glass uses. Concave lenses, on the other hand, have lenses that curve outward. Some believe that the spy glasses, which were invented earlier and made popular around the same time, inspired Galileo to make his own telescopes.

When the convex and concave lenses are combined together, they are able to magnify distant objects. This is the main principle behind the refracting telescope. These lenses gather and focus light at a point. When light that is collected bends and forms images, refraction takes place.

Galileo used his telescope to view the moon and planets like Jupiter and observe them in detail. Although the images were not sharp, he still was able to draw the moon with its craters. To improve the optical quality of his telescopes, he made his own lenses and was able to achieve a magnification of 9x using them in his telescopes. Today, variations of refracting telescopes exist. The special combination of lenses now make it possible to use a short tube for refracting telescopes. Telescopes have come a long way since Galileo.

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Anonymous said...

Galileo did not invent the telescope, he was the first to use the telescope for astronomical purposes. Hans Lippershey was credited with the invention of the telescope, although he may not have actually invented it, he received credit being the first to apply for a patent on it (which he did not end up getting.) Galileo copied his design a year later.

alvinwriter said...

Thank you for pointing that out. Note that some content in this blog come from authors who requested that their work be used unedited. The original post by John B. Mayall about Galileo has been replaced by this post from the administrator.