The telescope is a fantastic instrument which collects and analyzes radiation emitted by very distant sources. The most common kind is the optical telescope, which is a collection of lenses and mirrors, and that is used by experts and enthusiasts to allow them to see distant objects with ease and clarity by magnifying them.
In a broader sense, they can operate at a large number of frequencies of the electromagnetic spectrum, from radio to gamma rays. If you’re interested or if you’re required to learn more about these inventions, about their history and purpose, read this article in its entirety.
How does it work?
A telescope’s principal purpose is to collect light emitted by all kinds of objects, even by the notorious Big Bang. This intrinsic property allows you as an observer to see objects much brighter than what you could see with your naked eyes.
When you combine an objective lens with an eyepiece, you have a telescope – of course, this is an extreme simplification. The basic idea is that it collects lots of light to form an image that is super bright inside the telescope, and afterward, it uses a magnifying glass to enlarge that image so you can view it comfortably.
The telescope’s ability to enlarge an image usually depends on the combination of high-quality lenses used. The eyepiece itself performs the magnification.
Conventional wisdom, which is a sensitive topic, says that Hans Lippershey, a resourceful Dutch, invented what we called the telescope in 1608. Other sources attribute the invention to more obscure people, but the judge is still out on those.
A few years later, Galileo turned the telescope skyward, and he changed the world forever. This small feature consequently led to the discovery of Jupiter’s satellites and even to the discovery of craters on the Moon, which turned out not to be made of cheese after all.
In the modern age, telescopes gave birth to the first high-speed telecommunications networks that we enjoy so much today. In the early stages, spy glasses were used to relay semaphore signals in times of need from miles away.
But we took things even further when NASA launched the Hubble Space Telescope in 1990, which took a budget of over $2 billion in today’s money and many years of hard work. But that did pay off, as the discoveries scientists made with its help astonished us and made humanity understand its place in the Universe much better.
One last note
Telescopes can nowadays be used from the comfort of our bedrooms or roofs. The market is now filled with compact models that allow us to discover the universe on our own and to fill our brains with images that will make us dream of better places. Who knows, with a little persistence, you too might be able to discover a new planet or celestial body.