Newton’s Reflector

So legend has it, Newton invented the reflector telescope largely because he was so infuriated by the chromatic aberations in refractors. Having noticed the rainbow edges to objects viewed through refractor telescopes, Newton was the man who first theorised that white light is made up of a spectrum of colours. As a result, he built the first working reflector telescope to prove his theory — proving once and for all that chromatic aberation is a problem inherent to light refraction. Amazingly, that means that Isaac Newton played a key role in both astronomy and spectroscopy.

Newton’s original reflector telescope had a mirror just 3.3cm in size (just over an attoparsec). A far cry from the proposed 42m EELT. It’s amazing how far we’ve come over the past 350 years…


Incidentally, this image actually shows a replica of Newton’s second reflector telescope. Presumably his first wasn’t much to look at.
Some things in science never change, it seems…

About Invader Xan

Molecular astrophysicist, usually found writing frenziedly, staring at the sky, or drinking mojitos.
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