Did the reflecting
telescope have English origins?
the last few years studies have shown that maybe the reflecting
telescope was the invention of an English surveyor and his son.
The crude telescope would have enabled English commanders to sight
Spanish galleons, and given Elizabethan astronomers unrivalled glimpses
of the moon and stars. It was the subject of the BBC television
programme, "The Sky at Night", broadcast on 16 August.
Ronan is an historian of science and author of several works on
astronomy. He was President of the British Astronomical Association
in 1989-91. In his second presidential address lay years, he put
forward the claim that the credit for the invention of the reflecting
telescope should go to Leonard Digges, an English mathematician
and surveyor, whose device predates rival Dutch claims of 1608 by
over thirty years.
giving a talk on the subject to the Optics Section of the Physics
Department last May, Mr Ronan was invited by Professor Dainty to
use the facilities of the section to construct a replica of Digges's