4 Things You Didn’t Know about Telescopes

As one of the most commonly utilized optical instruments that aids in the observation of various remote objects, be they terrestrial or celestial, a telescope is one of the most popular devices nowadays. It’s fun and education, and that’s why more and more parents are considering getting one for their kids.

Telescopes have evolved considerably over the years, which is why they now boast a lightweight design and come with a plethora of user-friendly features. While it might be a tad daunting to get the best telescope given the broad array of choices available nowadays, one can definitely have their cake and eat it, too.

1. There are 3 major types of telescopes

Telescopes can roughly be split up into three categories. Refractors use the lenses in order to form the image, reflectors rely on a particular mirror arrangement to do the same, and catadioptric alternatives use both systems. Most refractors are hobby telescopes as they are compact, lightweight, and easy to carry around. As their aperture is somewhat lower compared to that of catadioptric and reflecting telescopes, they are suited for looking at the moon and other close celestial objects.

2. They were invented in 1608

A Dutchman, Hans Lippershey invented the telescope at the beginning of the 17th century, but there are some legends according to which it was actually conceived by a group of children several years before, who had created it by playing with the lenses from a spectacle maker’s shop. The telescope became popular with merchants, as back in the day, it was used to keep tabs on trade ships.

3. China built the world’s largest telescope

FAST, which stands for Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope, is the world’s largest radio telescope. It cost 180 million dollars to build yet several technical details are still being solved. This giant radio telescope is, unfortunately, useless at this time given China’s policies with regard to collaborating with other countries. There have been rumors that the country is trying to recruit scientists and professionals outside of its borders, but the government has denied such stories. Apparently, China officials are not considering foreigners for any position at the telescope site, which is a shame as the situation might as well result in a couple more years of a holdup.

4. Hubble was launched in 1990

In April of 1990, the Hubble telescope was launched into the Earth orbit. Five years into its launch, the device was repaired time and again, especially as its original mirror had been made flatter that it would have been necessary. Because of this slip, Hubble was no better compared to typical telescopes and was unable to take high-resolution pictures of deep-space objects. All of the images were blurry and unfocused, which is why it needed maintenance and repairs. In 1994, Hubble took a photo of Jupiter following the impact of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9.