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Who Invented the Telescope?

Aug 17, 2007
Just who invented the telescope is a question many people ask as they first begin to learn about Astronomy and look towards the heavens to gaze at the stars, planets and moons. The telescope is an amazing devise and many people assume it was invented by Galileo Galilei, the father of Astronomy.

Though the contributions of Galileo are hard to quantify, inventing the telescope was not one of them. The man who invented the telescope was a German man named Hans Lipperhey from Wesel Germany who later lived in the Netherlands.

Lipperhey was an eyeglass maker, or in the 17th century when he lived he would have been referred to as a spectacle maker. He learned a great deal about glass-making and began to experiment with lenses and the combination of lenses before he invented the telescope.

There is documentary proof that Lipperhey applied for a patent when he invented the telescope, or as some still believe, when his children invented the telescope while playing with some of his lenses. Though others have attempted to stake claim to the invention, no one other than Lipperhey applied for a patent for the telescope.

Of course, like many urban myths and legends, we will never truly know how the telescope was really invented or if it was truly Hans Lipperhey who invented it, but millions of men and women and boys and girls have enjoyed using telescopes to see the moon and distant planets and stars thanks to this amazing invention.

The telescope has certainly advanced over the centuries as they have become more powerful than Lipperhey or anyone else from that century ever could have imagined. Telescopes have changed what we know about the universe and how the earth fits into it. All of the wonders of the heavens have been opened up to us as a result of this incredible invention, presumably invented by Lipperhey in the 17th century.

It seem rather logical that an eyeglass or spectacle maker would be able to invent a telescope based on the fact that telescopes bend light in order to produce the image we see through the telescope. Whether he was deliberately setting out to invent the telescope or whether Lipperhey simply was playing with lenses at the time of his discovery is still unknown but what is known is the fact that most people have concluded that the inventor of the telescope was in fact Hans Lipperhey.
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Byran Kempa for Telescope Information
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