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Proceedings Paper • Open Access

The history of telescopes and binoculars: an engineering perspective
Author(s): John E. Greivenkamp; David L. Steed

Paper Abstract

The design of the refracting telescope advanced rapidly following its invention in 1608, reaching its modern configuration in about a century. Even though the development of binoculars began almost simultaneously, nearly three hundred years elapsed before practical prismatic binoculars became available. The impediments to practical binoculars were not only in optical design, but in mechanical design, manufacturing, and materials. This paper will document the history of telescopes and binoculars from an engineering perspective looking at the evolution of basic optical system layout as well as some of the mechanical issues faced. This development will be illuminated using examples from the Museum of Optics at the College of Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona.

Paper Details

Date Published: 10 September 2011
PDF: 18 pages
Proc. SPIE 8129, Novel Optical Systems Design and Optimization XIV, 812902 (10 September 2011); doi: 10.1117/12.904614
Show Author Affiliations
John E. Greivenkamp, College of Optical Sciences, The Univ. of Arizona (United States)
David L. Steed, College of Optical Sciences, The Univ. of Arizona (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8129:
Novel Optical Systems Design and Optimization XIV
R. John Koshel; G. Groot Gregory, Editor(s)

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