Why Did Hans Lippershey Invent the Telescope?

did-hans-lippershey-invent-telescope Credit: PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images

Hans Lippershey, a spectacle maker, invented the telescope after seeing his two children, who were playing in his shop, make a weather vane appear larger and clearer by looking through two lenses. Lippershey realized the many possibilities of this discovery, and he made the first telescope in 1608, which he called "kijker" in Dutch, which is translated as "looker."

Lippershey applied for a patent of his invention; however, it was not granted by the Belgian government. Instead, he made binocular telescopes for the government of the Netherlands and got paid very well.

Other people whose names have been associated with the invention of the telescope are Giambattista della Porta of Naples and Galileo Galilei. Giambattista knew about the telescopic properties of lenses since 1589. Galileo Galilei, on the other hand, learned about Lippershey's invention of the telescope and made his own version of it. Galileo made one with increased magnification to a factor of 20. With this improved telescope, it became possible to observe the mountains and craters on the moon, the stars in the Milky Way and the four moons of Jupiter. Still, many historians agree that it is Lippershey who should be credited for first describing the telescope in writing.