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Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. A corrected reprint of the? It was a requirement that the pagination remain unaltered, but nevertheless, apart from minor and format corrections on 17 pages, a number of corrections or additions of substance could be incorporated. These included minor corrections to Figs. The most important chang A corrected reprint of the?

The most important change of all was probably the complete revision of the historical treatment of Cassegrain in the Portrait Gallery, due to the superb research of Baranne and Launay on his identity, published in Additions of substance were text on pages 21, and Portrait Gallery Mersenne and corrections on pages 2 4 y to y , concerning the scale of Fig.

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Several of these errors were pointed out by readers, to whom I express my gratitude. The present 2nd edition contains all the material of the? Get A Copy. Hardcover , pages. Published September 3rd by Springer first published June More Details Original Title. Astronomy and Astrophysics Library. Other Editions 2. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Reflecting Telescope Optics 1 , please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Reflecting Telescope Optics 1. Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Community Reviews. The Jesuit priest, Niccolo Zucchi, even built a crude reflecting telescope as early as The motivation for this interest were some very serious problems with early refracting telescopes. With refracting telescopes, glass lenses are used to refract redirect light rays at the objective to a single focus point. The problem is that glass refracts the different wavelengths of light differently, resulting in different focus points for different colors.

This is known as chromatic aberration. This could result in fuzzy edges to objects. Another problem was the actual quality of the glass. Bubbles in the glass were common. The reflecting telescope did not have these problems. Several configurations of convex mirrors ,concave mirrors and lenses were proposed, some of which are still in use today.

Different shapes were suggested for the mirrors e. Early reflecting telescopes were made from these designs using the speculum metal then used for regular mirrors. This is an alloy of copper 2 parts and tin 1 part.

How To Choose A Beginner Telescope

Silvered mirrors good enough to be used in telescopes would not be available for another years Whatever problems refracting telescopes had at the time were small by comparison to those of reflectors. A reflecting telescope that could compete with refracting telescopes would require a parabolic or hyperbolic shape. This was beyond the capability of the craftsmen of the day. While precision grinding and polishing of glass to create lenses had been practiced for centuries in Europe i. As a result, Isaac Newton's compromise of using a spherical shape had little hope of matching the sharpness of existing refracting telescopes.

Another problem with early reflecting telescopes was the speculum metal itself. It reflected only about two thirds of the light that hit it. Being metal, it expanded and contracted much more than glass with temperature changes. Worst of all, speculum metal tarnished. That meant it would need to be removed and repolished potentially changing its shape. Spare mirrors would be needed if the telescope was to be used while a mirror was being repolished. Interest in the use of mirrors to concentrate light dates back to at least BCE. That is the date that Archimedes is thought to have assembled 'burning mirrors' in Syracusa to set a Roman fleet afire from several hundred metres.


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Burning mirrors, like reflecting telescopes, would be required to redirect incoming rays to a focus point. Today 'burning mirrors' are called solar concentrators and are typically used to generate electricity.

Interestingly, one design for solar concentrators is the Cassegrain design so popular in astronomy. The magnifying effect of concave mirrors was well known to both the Muslim and medieval European natural philosophers. Concave mirrors known as reading mirrors had been used as reading aids in Europe right up to sixteenth century see University of Arizona. The image above is from a fresco of St. Isnardo clearly showing a reading mirror on the shelf. The fresco by Tomasso da Modena was completed in see here.

In the early 's, Leonardo da Vinci had used concave mirrors to study the planets see Timeline of the Telescope: Year This means that that by the time the refracting telescope was 'invented' in , it was widely known that concave mirrors behave much like convex or plano-convex lenses.

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The earliest clearly documented attempt to build a reflecting telescope was by Father Niccolo Zucchi, an Italian Jesuit priest, around This was only a few years after the debut of refracting telescopes. Zucchi stated that he used it to view objects both "celestial and terrestrial". Zucchi was not happy with the result so he went back to building and using refracting telescopes. Recently, there have been claims that Leonard Digges may have built a reflecting telescope as early as The language he used to describe his device was vague so many doubt it was a reflecting device.

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The fascination with burning mirrors lasted right up to Galileo's time. In , Bonaventura Cavalier, an important mathematician and Catholic priest, wrote a book on burning mirrors titled Lo Specchio Ustor io. In it, Bonaventura Cavalieri proposed a telescope design using a flat secondary mirror angled at a diagonal, just as Newton had.

Newton would have had easy access to both Cavalieri's and Nicolo Zucchi's work on telescopes early in his career. In Lo Specchio , Cavalieri also proposed a device to amplify sound that employed a Cassegrain configuration see image below. The diagrams below show the Gregorian and Cassegrain configuration of mirrors used in modern reflecting telescopes. Mersenne's work on reflecting telescopes was very advanced.

Today it is believed that neither he nor his contemporaries including Descartes and Galileo understood the full significance of his work. A full understanding of the advanced nature of Mersenne's work would have to wait until the twentieth century.

Reflecting Telescope Optics 1: Basic Design Theory and Its Historical Development

Mersenne, went further than simply presenting configurations that are used in modern telescopes; his designs featured the strong telephoto effect critical to modern photographic lenses. This all happened 30 years before Newton's telescope. Mersenne intended to build telescopes to his designs but was dissuaded by Rene Descartes.

Descartes, being the originator of analytical geometry, understood the challenges in shaping a mirror to the correct parabolic curve. Several nineteenth century encyclopedias, including the Encyclopedia Americana, credited Mersenne as the inventor of the reflecting telescope.


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Other sources, if they did not credit him with the invention of the reflecting telescope, did mention his contribution to its early development see Google Books. Mersenne's fall from grace may be because he was a Catholic priest. Published work on the history of science of the early 20th century was biased heavily toward the theory that church and science conflict see Sarton-A Case for Bias.

On April 15, , the Journal de Scavans published an excerpt of a letter from a M. The diagram that was used to illustrate the device is shown above. It had a large primary concave mirror which reflected light onto a smaller secondary convex mirror which then reflected the light back through a hole in the primary mirror to an eyepiece.

Variations of this type of design would dominate the construction of research telescopes from the start of the twentieth century onward. In spite of the importance of the design, the true identity of this M. Cassegrain would not be known for more than three centuries. For his work, 'M. Cassegrain' received one of the great smackdowns in the history of science. The quote above is from Isaac Newton.