The telescope is an instrument used to observe bodies in the universe that are at a great distance. Its origin dates back to the times of the Greek and Mesopotamian cultures. The word “telescope” comes from the Greek roots ” tele “, far away; and ” skopein “, to look, so it means “to look away.”From the beginning, the design of the telescope has been based on a cylinder with magnifying lenses , which allow distant objects to be seen in detail, little reachable by the human eye.To enhance its magnification ability, crystals and prisms have been used. In addition, antennas and different measuring devices have been used to complement them. This is how radio telescopes have emerged .

What is the telescope for?

The telescope is the result of constant effort and development, by scientists such as:

  • Giam Battista de la Porta (Naples, 1535-1615)
  • Zacharias Janssen (Netherlands, 1588-1638)
  • Hans Lippershey, who patented it

The prototypes of the people mentioned were based on the work of John Roget, who made a rudimentary telescope in 1590. It is finally Hans Lippershey who is credited with his patent.

The telescope is used to:

  • Observe distant celestial bodies
  • See distant objects on the planet
  • Get information
  • Take high-resolution photos
  • Learn about the universe

Observe distant celestial bodies

In astronomy, telescopes are used to make distant objects visible, by increasing the focused image. They capture the light and project it through lenses and mirrors for later handling.

Data are collected from the celestial bodies, with a detail and quality that will depend on the telescope used. It can be an optical telescope or a radio telescope.

The first functional telescope was invented by Galileo Galilei, who discovered the moons of Jupiter.

See distant objects on the planet

The telescope is used to observe distant bodies of the planet

The telescope is useful in fields such as navigation, exploration, the study of animals such as birds, and in the military. Variants of them are binoculars or binoculars and spyglasses.

Get information

The telescope is used to obtain information about the elements that make up the universe. In the case of radio telescopes, waves and radiation coming from space are detected.

Take high-resolution photos

The most advanced telescopes, which are connected to computer monitors, are capable of capturing high-resolution images of planets, stars, nebulae, asteroids and comets. In addition, photographs of atmospheric and climatic phenomena can be obtained. The field of ornithology is also supported, which is the study of birds.

Learn about the universe

The telescope is used as an instrument for teaching about the universe . The pedagogical purpose is to have one in each home, with which the children observe the moon, the stars and the other stars.

Types of telescopes

Long-range telescope and conventional telescope

Telescopes are classified according to the way they work, either handling light or perceiving radiation.

These are:

  • Optical telescopes
  • Radiotelescopios

Optical telescopes

They work through the superimposition of lenses and concave or curved mirrors , to better capture the light of the objects that are intended to be seen.

These telescopes are divided into two types:

  • Refracting telescopes , which use the lens itself as an objective
  • Reflecting telescopes , where the objective is a mirror

The subgroups of optical telescopes, with specific characteristics and configuration, are:

  • Liquid mirror telescope
  • Gregorian telescope
  • Maksútov telescope
  • Catadioptric telescope
  • Zenith telescope
  • Cassegrain telescope
  • Telescopio Dobson


They are telescopes specialized in capturing different waves and radiation from space. With these devices, it is possible to measure the frequency or wavelength of the light rays emitted by the observed bodies.

Radio telescopes have receiving antennas that take as a signal the radiation emitted by the bright stars.

Unlike optical telescopes, which allow observation through the human eye, radio telescopes have interconnected antennas and transform their signal into an observable image on a monitor.

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