Refracting Telescopes A telescope magnifies distant objects so they can be easily studied. Astronomers use the telescope to study the planets, stars and other objects in our universe. The first telescope was invented by Hans Lippershey a Dutch optician. According to legend, the telescope was "discovered rather than invented" (Christopher Lampton). Hans was a lazy type of person, apparently he was spending the afternoon playing with lenses. He noticed that when he took two and held one held one at arms length and the other infront of his eye the objects became magnified and seemed close by. Basically the first lense magnified the objects and the second lense enlarged the image so it can be viewed. He was actually holding a concave lens and a convex lens and looked through it. This made him more curious, he then put the lenses in a tube. Although this was very basic it was the first refracting telescope in 1668.
Using this new instrument many more scientists started exploring our universe even though many of the early telescopes where mostly used for the military. In almost no time this new invention spread across Europe.
Galileo Galilei, an Italian astronomer and physicist is credited by many science historians as being the first to ever make detailed observations of many objects in space using the early telescope. His curiosity drove him to make the very basic telescope even better. He made his own homemade telescope that could magnify the objects 20x the size when viewed by the naked eye. He soon made even more observations in space. He found out moons orbiting Jupiter, the Milky Way Galaxy, dark spots on the sun and many more extraordinary discoveries that people had not heard of before.
But that wasn't the end to the development to the technology of telescopes. Using the idea of the refracting telescope Scottish astronomer James Gregory first invented the reflecting telescopes which reflected light rather than refracting. The English mathematician Isaac Newton was the first to build this different type of telescope in 1668. Scientists soon found out that reflecting telescopes where more efficient that the refracting telescope because they produce better images and the mirrors used for the reflecting could be made much larger than the lenses that where needed for refracting telescopes. Even now the telescopes are becoming better and better because the discoveries in optics and in specific technology will never end.
When a ray of light passes through glass it bends or is refracted. In a convex lens th glass is shaped so that all of the many light rays bend towards one single point this is called focusing the light. The refracting telescope works in the same way the convex lenses focuses the light from the object. The distance between the lens and where all the rays meet is called the focal length.
In a telescope the large at lens in called the objective lens, which is curved outwards (convex). The objective lens collects all of the light from a distant object and delivers this light beam to the eye piece which is the lens or set of lenses at the end of the tube which then focuses the light on your eye. There are many different refracting telescopes some more complicated then others. In some telescopes If the image is properly focused and the lenses are properly aligned you will be able to observe an object that you could not have seen nearly as well with the naked eye.
Astronomy has become a big part of our life. With out telescopes people would not be able to explore the stars and planets. Using telescopes we where able to make new discoveries about our universe. The continuing development of the technology has been able to improve the telescope.