Monday, 27 July 2009

The all seeing eye

The telescope: a short history has just been catalogued.

Richard Dunn’s book offers an illustrated overview of the history of the telescope. He writes that the telescope’s true inventor may never be known. Surviving records suggest 1608 when Hans Lipperhey and others applied for a patent. The name ‘telescopium’ was formally announced in 1611, two years after Galileo began making telescopes.
Dunn’s lively narrative chronicles Galileo’s first astronomical observations and Draper’s moon photographs of 1840. He describes the 1957 Jodrell Bank radio telescope dish as Britain’s post-war national pride and tourist attraction. The epilogue looks to the future, building on the legacy of the Hubble Space Telescope and Large Binocular Telescope. The telescope has developed from small instruments to giant radio arrays; beginning as an extension of human sight it allows man to see in previously unimagined ways. From looking out at space to understanding the origin of the universe, this book shows both history and potential of this remarkable instrument.

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