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Celebrate 400 Years of Telescopes September 9, 2008

Posted by Sarah in science.
Tags: , , , ,

2008 marks the 400th anniversary of the invention of the telescope. Although Galileo famously carried out his first astronomical observations with a telescope in 1609, the first telescopes actually appeared in 1608, right here in the Netherlands. Dutch spectacle maker Hans Lipperhey was the first to apply for a patent after showing his new invention to Prince Maurits of Orange.

A number of events have been planned locally in the Netherlands to commemorate Lipperhey’s invention, which paved the way for generations of astronomers (like me!) to build ever bigger and better telescopes.

A ‘multimedia celebration’ of the 400th anniversary of the telescope is planned in the framework of the International Year of Astronomy (2009) partnering with the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP) and two US planetariums, Interstellar Studios, Southern Oregon Public Television (SOPTV).  A trailer of a  documentary they are producing is available here.

In the Netherlands, a symposium will be held in Middelburg, where Lipperhey lived and worked, on 4 October 08. The programme was announced recently and it has some really good speakers from the Netherlands and Belgium. Their links page lists many more initiatives in Belgium and the Netherlands.

Also in the Netherlands, astronomers from the Leiden area (Leiden University and ESTEC) are organising a 4-day conference celebrating 400 years of telescopes. The meeting will be held at ESTEC in Noordwijk and features some very renowned scientists from all over the world, such as Tim De Zeeuw, Colin Cunningham, Lothar Noethe, Pierre Lena, Reinhard Genzel, Malcolm Longair, Riccardo Giacconi and George Rieke.

Tomorrow, on 10 September, an exhibition will open at the Boerhaave Museum in Leiden (Netherlands) entitled “The Telescope”. Running for 10 days only, the museum will have on display the only remaining complete telescope built by Christiaan Huygens as well as several historic satellites. The opening on 10 September (4 – 7 pm) will feature a talk by Dutch science journalist and astronomy enthusiast Govert Schilling.

And these are just some of the excellent initiatives marking the birthday of the astronomical telescope! Feel free to post about your own local celebration.


1. 400th Anniversary of the Telescope « Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Centraal - September 10, 2008

[…] the Telescope Posted by Adrian Thysse under Golden Age | Tags: Astronomy, invention |   SarahAskew Blog gives some details of the celebrations taking place around the invention of the telescope: […]

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