All sorts of anniversaries going on these days — yesterday was NASA’s 50th birthday, on Saturday, Oct. 4 is the 51st anniversary of Sputnik’s launch, and today we celebrate the birthday of the telescope. 400 years ago, officials in the Netherlands were pondering over a patent application by a spectacle maker named Hans Lipperhey. The patent was for a “device by means of which all things at a very great distance can be seen as if they were nearby.” This is the earliest known record of a telescope. A few months later, scientist Galileo Galilei would get his hands on one.
Over at Wired, they are having a big celebration for the telescope’s birthday, including an article by some writer named Nancy Atkinson that includes a gallery of images and descriptions of the ten largest ground-based telescopes on Earth. It’s called “Giants of Earth and Space.” But there’s all sort of other interesting features, including a place where you can upload your favorite astronomical image that was taken by a ground-based telescope.
So check it out to celebrate. But of course this biggest party will be next year — the whole year of 2009 in fact, during the International Year of Astronomy. Look for more info and features about all the great events and ways you can participate in future articles on Universe Today