Reflecting Telescope

Sir Isaac Newton 1668

Isaac Newton
Isaac Newton

Newton’s reflecting telescope is the first fully functional reflecting telescope.

Isaac Newton, see Gravity, was born in 1642 in a manor house in Lincolnshire, England.

Others had experimented with the idea of a reflecting telescope including James Gregory but had not manufactured a working version. Early telescopes, like those used by Galileo, consisted of glass lenses mounted in a tube. When the light from a star passed through a lens, the different colours were refracted.

This meant that the components of white light were brought to a focus at different places and the image of a star would then appear to be surrounded by a spectrum of colours. This effect is called chromatic aberration.

Newtons Original Reflector
Newtons Original Reflector


Newton's solution was to replace the lenses with mirrors.


Modern Reflector

Modern Reflector Telescope
Modern Reflector Telescope

The reflector telescope is still very popular and has changed very little in 351 years.

 

Leviathan of Parsonstown
Rosse Telescope
Rosse Telescope

The Newtonian principle was taken to extreme proportions in 1845 with the construction of the Leviathan of Parsonstown otherwise known as the Rosse six-foot telescope. This was a huge reflecting telescope of 72 inches.
Up to this point the biggest reflectors were only 30 inches. It was built by William Parsons, 3rd Earl of Rosse on his estate, Birr Castle, at Parsonstown in County Offaly, Ireland.

With a 72-inch metal mirror weighing 4 tons and a tube 54 feet long, it remained the largest telescope in the world until 1917, 72 years.
The emblem of Rule Britannia
In History
  • 18 February 1871.
    On this day 148 years ago Harry Brearley was born
  • 06 February 1804.
    This month 215 years ago the world lost Joseph Priestley
  • 10 February 1912.
    This month 107 years ago the world lost Joseph Lister
  • CT Scan. 100 years ago 28 August 1919 Godfrey Hounsfield was born
  • 16 February 1834.
    This month 185 years ago the world lost Lionel Lukin
  • 05 February 1790.
    This month 229 years ago the world lost William Cullen
  • 21 February 1741.
    This month 277 years ago the world lost Jethro Tull
  • 19 February 1927.
    This month 91 years ago the world lost Herbert Akroyd Stuart
  • 08 February 2017.
    This month 2 years ago the world lost Peter Mansfield
  • 17 February 2011.
    This month 8 years ago the world lost Ron Hickman
  • 14 February 1779.
    This month 240 years ago the world lost Captain Cook
  • 26 February 1884.
    This month 134 years ago the world lost Alexander Wood
  • 23 February 1965.
    This month 53 years ago the world lost Stan Laurel
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