Telescopes: Through the Looking Glass

Telescopes: Through the Looking Glass
  • Book
  • 234 pages
  • Level: all audiences

This book by Marvin Bolt was published in 2009, the year of the 400th anniversary of Galileo’s use of the telescope. It provides a readable history of the telescope by way of highlighting items that are on exhibit in the “Telescopes: Through the Looking Glass” exhibit at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago. Scattered throughout this beautifully illustrated book can be found references to the works of various clerics, such as Bartholomaeus Anglicus (1203-1274), Ferdinand Verbiest (1623-1688), Francesco Bianchini (1662-1729), and others. Those planning a visit to the Adler might enjoy a look through this book in advance.

From the publisher, Adler Planetarium:

Through the Looking Glass celebrates the 400th anniversary of the telescope and the 2009 International Year of Astronomy. This exhibition catalogue focuses on ninety-nine artifacts from the Adler Planetarium’s world-class collection of historic telescopes. From the simple lenses of the world’s earliest telescopes 400 years ago to the complex computer-driven mirrors of current telescopes, these tools have gathered information about our nearest astronomical neighbors and the most distant objects in the universe. Through the Looking Glass examines this story through select rare books, works on paper, telescopes, and other instruments from the Adler Planetarium’s collection. Introductory paragraphs provide background information for each of four time periods, with each section featuring artifact entries that describe each object’s place in the fascinating history of the telescope. Telescope-makers intended for their work to be looked at as well as looked through. With this catalogue, readers can enjoy the craftsmanship of telescope-making over the centuries, and catch a glimpse of their importance and of the significant discoveries they enabled.

Click here for a preview of Telescopes: Through the Looking Glass.

Adler Planetarium website for the exhibit entitled “Telescopes: Through the Looking Glass”—click here.