noun, often attributive \ˈte-lə-ˌskōp\

: a device shaped like a long tube that you look through in order to see things that are far away

Full Definition of TELESCOPE

:  a usually tubular optical instrument for viewing distant objects by means of the refraction of light rays through a lens or the reflection of light rays by a concave mirror — compare reflector, refractor
:  any of various tubular magnifying optical instruments

Examples of TELESCOPE

  1. The rings of Saturn can be seen through a telescope.


New Latin telescopium, from Greek tēleskopos farseeing, from tēle- tele- + skopos watcher; akin to Greek skopein to look — more at spy
First Known Use: 1648

Other Astronomy Terms

gibbous, nadir, nebulous, penumbra, retrograde, sidereal, syzygy, wane, wax, zenith



: to become shorter by having one section slide inside another somewhat larger section

: to make (something) shorter in length or time


Full Definition of TELESCOPE

intransitive verb
:  to become forced together lengthwise with one part entering another as the result of collision
:  to slide or pass one within another like the cylindrical sections of a collapsible hand telescope
:  to become compressed or condensed
transitive verb
:  to cause to telescope

Examples of TELESCOPE

  1. <for dramatic purposes, the film telescopes the years over which the events occurred into a few short months>

First Known Use of TELESCOPE



noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Two types of telescopes. A refracting telescope forms an image by focusing light from a distant …—© Merriam-Webster Inc.

Device that collects light from and magnifies images of distant objects, undoubtedly the most important investigative tool in astronomy. The first telescopes focused visible light by refraction through lenses; later instruments used reflection from curved mirrors (see optics). Their invention is traditionally credited to Hans Lippershey (1570?–1619?), who adapted A. van Leeuwenhoek's use of lenses in microscopes. Among the earliest telescopes were Galilean telescopes, modeled after the simple instruments built by Galileo, who was the first to use telescopes to study celestial bodies. In 1611 Johannes Kepler proposed an improved version that became the basis for modern refracting instruments. The reflecting telescope came into its own after William Herschel (see Herschel family) used one to discover the planet Uranus in 1781. Since the 1930s radio telescopes have been used to detect and form images from radio waves emitted by celestial objects. More recently, telescopes have been designed to observe objects and phenomena in other parts of the electromagnetic spectrum (see gamma-ray astronomy; infrared astronomy; ultraviolet astronomy; X-ray astronomy). Spaceflight has allowed telescopes to be launched into Earth orbit to avoid the light-scattering and light-absorbing effects of the atmosphere (e.g., the Hubble Space Telescope). See also binoculars; observatory.


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