The history of the telescope cannot be dealt with without talking about the famous Italian astronomer, Galileo Galilee.
For centuries before Galileo man had been obsessed with the heavens and stars, and came up with different theories to explain the movement and position of them.
Galilee is considered the father of modern astronomy as he was the first person to examine the heavens using a telescope.
In 1609 Galilee examined the skies with his small homemade telescope and it marked the beginning of an exciting journey of astronomy.
Telescopes have three simple designs; the refractor telescope has two lenses, the reflector telescope collects light with a mirror and reflects it back, the catadioptirc telescope is a mixture of these two.
Refractor telescopes were the earliest. They are the simplest design and therefore easy to make.
The two lenses are situated at two ends of the telescope. The one at the end is larger and is called the objective lens (object glass). The one closer to the eye is called the ocular (or eyepiece).
The reflector telescope gathers light in the primary (concave mirror) mirror and use many ways of focusing the light.
Depending on the way the concave mirror focuses the light, the type of telescope changes. Many observatories use this type of telescope.
The first telescope used to look into space was the refracting telescope. Since the quality of the glasses was not the best, the pictures were sometimes blurry.
Blurry pictures (unclear) are called chromatic aberration and over the years inventors realized that the longer the telescope the lesser the chromatic aberration.
This is why, the early telescopes were short, while the later ones, were very long. The picture is clearer that way. This length is called the focal point.
These long telescopes were difficult to carry around and set up, and Newton solved this problem by inventing the reflecting telescope (using the concave mirrors).
His telescope reduced the focal point, but because it used light reflecting mirrors, the picture became clearer to the viewer.
Since then man invented many types of telescopes to help us see the heavens better.
Some of the most common are radio telescopes, gamma ray telescopes, ultraviolet telescopes, infrared telescopes, and x-ray telescopes.
The modern day powerful telescopes are usually fixed to the ground and are huge. The bigger they are the more detail they reveal, and they have complex systems of lenses that allow a clearer image of the heavens.
One of the most famous modern day telescopes is the Hubble Space Telescope invented by NASA and named after Edwin Hubble in 1990.
It is perhaps the greatest telescope to be built so far in human history and since it is orbiting the earth, it sends us extraordinary images of the universe.