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400 Years of Astronomical Telescopes

A Review of History, Science and Technology

Editors: Brandl, Bernhard R., Stuik, Remko, Katgert-Merkelijn, J. K. (Eds.)

  • Highlight for the International Year of Astronomy
  • Reviews the development of the Astronomical Telescope, from the spy glasses, via Galileo to optical and non-optical groundbased and space telescopes of the 21st century
  • Contributions by the leaders of contemporary observational astronomy including a Nobel Laureate
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Hardcover 207,99 €
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Softcover 155,99 €
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About this book

Four hundred years ago, on 25 September 1608, the lens maker Hans Lipperhey from Middelburg in the Netherlands traveled to The Hague to apply for a patent regarding his invention of the "spyglass". The Commander in Chief of the Dutch armed forces, Prince Maurice of Nassau, was quite impressed. However, since the instrument could be easily copied, Lipperhey was not granted the patent. Nevertheless, within a year Galileo Galilei aimed a telescope that he had built based on the principals of Lipperhey's device on the skies, forever changing the way astronomy was done.

To celebrate the invention of the telescope and the resulting developments, Leiden Observatory, in cooperation with ESTEC, organized an international meeting on "400 Years of Astronomical Telescopes". The meeting took place from 29 September - 2 October 2008 at the ESTEC conference centre. This book presents the highlights of this meeting under the following categories:

  • History of Optical Telescopes
  • History of Non-Optical Telescopes
  • Miscellaneous Aspects and Projects
  • Fundamental Telescope Technologies
  • Political and Sociological Aspects
  • Perspectives for Future Telescopes

The topical reviews have been written by internationally recognized leaders of the field. This book is intended as a first reference to many technical, historical and social aspects concerning astronomical telescopes. It is equally well suited to professional astronomers as to the interested public.

Section VII of the book is available only online at


From the reviews:

“This wonderful book, with experts describing telescopes and related astronomical facilities from before Galileo into the twenty-first century, will stand the test of time. … 400 years of astronomical telescopes is a volume worth reading, having, and keeping.” (Jay M. Pasachoff, Journal for the History of Astronomy, Vol. 45, 2014)

Buy this book

Hardcover 207,99 €
price for Spain (gross)
Softcover 155,99 €
price for Spain (gross)

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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
400 Years of Astronomical Telescopes
Book Subtitle
A Review of History, Science and Technology
  • Bernhard R. Brandl
  • Remko Stuik
  • J. K. Katgert-Merkelijn
Springer Netherlands
Copyright Holder
Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
Hardcover ISBN
Softcover ISBN
Edition Number
Number of Pages
XV, 535
Additional Information
Reprinted from Experimental Astronomy journal, Vol. 25/1-3 and 26/1-3, 2009