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History Of The Telescope

October 20th, 2010

Brass Telescope With Stand

The invention of the telescope was certainly one that impacted the exploits of nautical travel in immeasurable ways. By understanding the location of the planet in relation with celestial objects far up above, sailors could improve their methods of navigating to be more precise. Indeed the nautical telescope helped to advance the improvements of nautical navigating as well as the world itself.

The telescope was invented in the Netherlands in 1608. The inventor of which is split between three different people who have all be credited with inventing the telescope. These people are: Hans Lippershey, Sacharias Jansen, and Jacob Metius. Hans is believed to have made the designs for the first working telescope, where on October 2, 1608 he made a patent for “seeing things far away as if they were nearby.” His patent just beat out Jacob Metius’s by only a mere couple of weeks. However, because of the claim by other individuals to have invented this device, Hans was not given his patent. Though, he was paid off for his design by the Dutch government. While these two may have been more public with their designs and patents for the telescope, Sacharias Jansen is widely thought to have preceded both inventors in his own design.

Convex and concave lens telescopes were the first of the Dutch telescopes constructed. They were made in such a way that the image was not inverted, and he original design by Hans only allowed for 3 times magnification. Not long after the invention, the telescope became made in high numbers all around Europe, and for good reason.

Galileo heard of this device that could make things far away seem as if they were near when in Venice June of the following year. Galileo’s interest in the telescope prompted a better design, as the inventor claimed to have fixed the construction flaw in the original design. He then made his own telescope with a convex lens on one end of a tube and a concave lens on the other. Shortly after, Galileo took his improved telescope design to Venice to introduce to the public. It is for this reason that many credit Galileo with the invention of the telescope, although he was just responsible for greatly improving the design.

Galileo began making even more powerful telescopes after this, greatly contributing to nautical navigators ease of sailing. The first telescope he created could only magnify 3 times, but he eventually produced a telescope capable of magnifying up to thirty-three diameters! This powerful adaption of the telescope helped him to see the orbiting satellites around Jupiter and the spots of the sun.

Later, telescopes were made of a variety of materials, including the popular brass telescope for nautical purposes.  Thanks to Lippershey and Galileo’s improvements on the telescope, space became more widely looked into, as well as the reaching corners of the seas by sailors and navigators. The nautical telescope needed not be as powerful as the lenses of the space reaching telescopes, but only to serve the purpose of looking far into the distance of the horizon.

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How To Use A Telescope

October 11th, 2010

Brass Nautical Telescope

Telescopes rank among our planet’s greatest innovations. While they are complex in composition, they are quite easy to wield. It is important to note before using a telescope the exact location you will be setting one up in. To choose your location properly, go outside when the night is clear and look around for a location that will allow for optimal observations. The best areas to do this at will be where the view is unimpeded so as to allow a greater range of motion and viewing. You will also want to escape from the lights of the city into a more peaceful airspace where light doesn’t cloud your view of the stars. This is due to light pollution. However, if you cannot leave the city then try using your telescope on a rooftop.

The location of your camping site for setting up the telescope should be one that is both comfortable to you, and is ideal for use. Sheltered areas offer a lot of shading that is ideal for telescopic use. This is because the light will be shielded from your view and will give you a clear view of the sky. When it is day time, you should look for a set up site that is leveled. This will give your telescope a good balance so you don’t accidentally trip while looking into outer space! Setting up on a deck or something similar might present a problem however because of footsteps that cause vibrations. The best sites are on the grass as they do not cause vibration or thermal issues to the same extent as decks and sidewalks.

Now that you are ready to go with your observing site, it is time to learn how to use a telescope. First, align your telescope’s axis to the pole star using the equatorial mount if you have one. If your telescope uses an altazimuth mount then this is not necessary. Second, remove the dust caps from your telescope. Make sure that the tripod legs are secured so you don’t lose sight of a hard to find object because your tripod gave in. Start by using the lowest power eye piece, and focus it. By using the finder scope, locate a test star by loosening the axis. Once you locate the star in your finder, tighten the axis. Next, adjust the focus on your eyepiece to give a clear view of the star you just found. You will notice that star moves west. The direction will always be west no matter your eye piece’s orientation. Equatorial mounts are equipped with slow motion cables that can track the star, while altazimuth mounts make use of a pan control for following the object manually.

On the equatorial mount, unlocking of the axis is necessary for each new celestial object you move to. Using the finder to locate objects, lock up the axis every time you find a new object. Then you will use the slow motion cable or panhandle controls to adjust to the “movements” of your object. It is important to start off with a low power eye piece first in order to find objects easier. Once you are locked onto an object you wish to study then you can switch to higher magnifications.

After use of your telescope it is vital to the life of your equipment that you refasten its dust caps. Optics that become foggy should not be wiped off, or you run the risk of leaving scratches on them. Instead, let them dry off naturally from the air.

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