The New Scientist takes you on an armchair tour of some of the most important telescopes ever built.
The exact origin of the telescope is still controversial. The oldest existing documents attribute its invention to the Dutch spectacle maker Hans Lipperhey in the early 17th century. Lipperhey found that placing a convex lens at one end of a tube and a concave lens at the other allowed him to magnify distant objects.
Though he didn’t invent the telescope, Galileo improved on its design – gradually increasing its magnification power. And he was the first to realise that it could be used to study the heavens rather than just to magnify objects on Earth.