Telescope

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Few astronomers could have anticipated that this event—the sudden birth of the Universe—would become a proven scientific fact, but observations of the heavens through telescopes have forced them to that conclusion.
~ Robert Jastrow
The eye appears to have been designed; no designer of telescopes could have done better.
~ Robert Jastrow
A Young Pulsar Shows its Hand

A telescope is an instrument that aids in the observation of remote objects by collecting electromagnetic radiation (such as visible light). The first known practical telescopes were invented in the Netherlands at the beginning of the 17th century, using glass lenses. They found use in terrestrial applications and astronomy.

Quotes[edit]

  • The Bible is like a telescope. If a man looks through his telescope, then he sees worlds beyond; but, if he looks at his telescope, then he does not see anything but that.
  • About ten months ago [1609] a report reached my ears that a certain Fleming [Hans Lippershey] had constructed a spyglass, by means of which visible objects, though very distant from the eye of the observer, were distinctly seen as if nearby... Of this truly remarkable effect several experiences were related, to which some persons gave credence while others denied them. A few days later the report was confirmed to me in a letter from a noble Frenchman at Paris, Jacques Badovere, which caused me to apply myself wholeheartedly to enquire into the means by which I might arrive at the invention of a similar instrument. This I did shortly afterwards, my basis being the theory of refraction. First I prepared a tube of lead, at the ends of which I fitted two glass lenses, both plane on one side while on the other side one was spherically convex and the other concave.
    • Galileo Galilei, The Starry Messenger (1610), trans. Stillman Drake, Discoveries and Opinions of Galileo (1957), 28-9.
  • I have tried to improve telescopes and practiced continually to see with them. These instruments have play'd me so many tricks that I have at last found them out in many of their humours.
    • William Herschel, quoted in Constance Anne Lubbock, The Herschel Chronicle: the Life-story of William Herschel and his Sister, Caroline Herschel (1933), 102.
  • The eye appears to have been designed; no designer of telescopes could have done better.
    • Robert Jastrow, cited in the book: Life—How Did It Get Here? By Evolution or by Creation?, chapter 2.
  • Few astronomers could have anticipated that this event—the sudden birth of the Universe—would become a proven scientific fact, but observations of the heavens through telescopes have forced them to that conclusion.

Quotes from Hubble Trouble—How Did It Turn Out?, article of Awake! magazine, 1995, 9/8.

  • [The Hubble Space Telescope is] probably the most sophisticated scientific satellite ever built.
    • Dr. R. W. Smith of The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, in The International Encyclopedia of Astronomy.
  • The largest, most complex, and most powerful observatory ever deployed in space.
    • Eric Chaisson describes Hubble Telescope in his book The Hubble Wars.
  • The four million lines of computer code needed to command and control it daily—one of the largest codes in the civilian world—is testimony to Hubble’s high degree of complexity.
  • The glaring hardware faults on Hubble derive from a case of engineering myopia, a clear and steady failure to heed the bigger picture. For example: telescope optics machined improperly and tested inadequately by overconfident engineers, with no meaningful technical or scientific input from outside the secretive contractor . . .  [and] the incorporation into Hubble of used goods, such as decades-old gyroscopes [gyros that had been tested for some 70,000 hours before use in the telescope—‘tested to death,’ as one engineer stated] and memory boards meant for antique space vehicles.
  • The widespread notion that the scientific method is unbiased and objective, that scientists are and always have been lacking in human emotion in the course of their work, is a farce. Today’s science endeavor is as value-laden as most things in life.
  • Hubble is fixed beyond our wildest expectations.