Flamsteed Astronomy Society

Today’s big reflecting telescopes

— April 3, 2006

The Future … ?   There are several projects for larger terrestrial telescopes.   Here are just two examples proposed at 50 meters and 100 meters!  The scale and cost of these proposals must make their construction very doubtful in the near future.  It is more likely that we will see further development of adaptive optics, interferometry, and sensor technologies to get more out of existing instruments in the short to medium term.

Euro 50”  (Left) A proposed 50-meter fully-steerable telescope for the ORM, La Palma.  This instrument would be 5 times bigger than a Keck with 25 times more light-gathering power.  The mounting would dwarf a 747 airplane.

“OWL” Overwhelmingly Large Telescope (Right) A proposed 100-meter giant.  Similar to the SALT and HET instruments, it would be fixed in altitude angle.  The primary mirror would be composed of 3048 hexagonal segments, each 1.6 m.  Imagine the light-collecting power of almost 6000 Yerkes refractors held together in a bunch with a huge rubber band!

Book List

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Henry C. King

The History of the Telescope

Dover Publications reprinted 2003.  Original edition Charles Griffin & Co. 1955.

Peter L. Manly

Unusual Telescopes

Cambridge University Press 1991; reprinted in paperback 1995.

Isaac Asimov

Eyes on the Universe

Andre Deutsch 1976

John & Mary Gribbin

How Far is Up?  Measuring the size of the Universe

Icon Books 2003.  Republished as “The Men who Measured the Universe” paperback

Richard Panek

Seeing and Believing.  The story of the telescope or how we found the Universe

Viking 1998

Michael Hoskin (Ed)

Cambridge Illustrated History of Astronomy

Cambridge University Press 1997.  Reprinted 2000

Fred Watson

Stargazer — the Life and Times of the Telescope

Allen & Unwin 2004

Richard Learner

Astronomy through the Telescope — The 500-year story of the instruments, their inventors, and their discoveries.   Evans Brothers.  1982