What Year Was the Telescope Invented?


Quick Answer

The first telescope was invented in 1608 in the Netherlands. Dutch eyeglass maker Hans Lippershey applied for a patent on a telescope several weeks before Jacob Metius, also a maker of optical instruments. Because he applied sooner, Lippershey is credited with inventing the first telescope.

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Full Answer

The Dutch government, reasoning that the device was too easy to reproduce, denied the applications but rewarded Metius and paid Lippershey to produce several copies. Another Dutchman, Zacharias Janssen, also produced a telescope but made his claim years later and never applied for a patent. In 1609, Galileo Galilei, having only heard of the telescope made by Lippershey, built his own and was the first to observe celestial bodies.

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