Top 10 Telescopes And Observatories

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Updated on 21 Apr, 2018 at 8:38 pm


Telescopes and Observatories have done a tremendous job to explore the unknown aspects of space. Take a read here and know more about these revolutionary inventions.

1. Keck I & II Telescopes, Mauna Kea Observatory Hawaii, USA

The two Keck telescopes were opened in 1992-96. They are situated 4,000m up a Hawaiian mountain, so above 40 percent of the Earth’s atmosphere. They are the world’s most powerful ground-based instruments, with a 10.82m total aperture made up of 36 hexagonal mirrors. Equipped with sophisticated cameras and spectrometers, each telescope is about 300 tons in weight.



2. Hubble Space Telescope, USA

The HST was launched in 1990 and orbits 600km above earth’s atmosphere. It can photograph distant objects with ten times the detail possible with ground-based telescopes. Invented by NASA, this extraordinary space telescope has helped to rectify some of the major astronomical hurdles. This telescope has enabled scientists to find out the age of the universe as well as the rate at which universe is expanding.



3. Arecibo Observatory, Puerto Rico

This is the largest single-aperture telescope till the date which is operated by Cornell University. Its uses include searching for pulsars and quasars and the search for the alien life forms under the SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) programme.  Its giant 305m dish features in the final scenes of the James Bond film – “Golden Eye.”



4. Jodrell Bank, Cheshire

Originally known as Jodrell Bank Experimental Station, this observatory was founded by Sir Bernard Lovell in 1945 and currently governed by University of Manchester. Initially, Jodrell Bank was used for academic activities but after World War II it was involved in major researchers such as investigating the cosmic rays, concluding the space age and exploring the gravitational lenses.



5. Hale Telescope, Palomar Observatory, California, USA

This groundbreaking telescope was named after astronomer George Ellery Hale and has played a vital role in discovering the mystical phenomenon of the Universe. Consisting ultramodern spectrograph, adaptive optics systems, and infrared array imagers, this telescope is administrated by California Institute of Technology.




6. Mount Wilson Observatory, California, USA

This astronomical observatory is located at the height of 1,742m in San Gabriel Mountains. In 1904, the Carnegie Institution of Washington provided this observatory a crucial funding. Focusing on deep space observation, this eminent observatory of the 20th century has three solar telescopes, well known for exploring sun’s nature.



7. Yerkes Observatory, Williams Bay, Wisconsin, USA

Governed by University of Chicago, this observatory was launched in 1897 and till the date, it has the largest refracting telescope in the world used for astronomical research. Dedicated to exploring near earth objects, infrared astronomy, interstellar medium and globular cluster formation, this observatory is considered as the birthplace of modern astrophysics.



8. Birr Castle, Co. Offaly, Ireland

The Earl of Rosse’s 1.8 reflecting telescope, built in 1845, was used to discover the spiral form of galaxies. It was the world’s largest until the opening of Mount Wilson and it was recently restored and opened to the public.



9. Herschel’s “Forty-foot” reflector, Slough

This ancient telescope was invented by Sir William Herschel and Caroline Herschel between 1785 to 1789 in Britain. Settled on the grounds of observatory house, this telescope is renowned for discovering the 6th and 7th moons of Saturn. Mirror’s diameter was 48 inch and focal length was 40 foot, hence it names forty foot. It was disintegrated in 1839 and now resides in the Science Museum of London.



10. Royal Observatory, Greenwich, London

This observatory was founded by King Charles II in 1675 but atmospheric and light pollution reduced its efficiency. In 1984, the Prime or Greenwich Meridian, zero degree, which passes through the Observatory, was adopted as the basis for all mapping and measurements. It constituted a 28-inch refracting telescope which was launched in 1893. However, it was ceased in the late 1960s but still, it is a key ingredient of educational programmes.