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History Of The Telescope

October 20th, 2010

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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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