Early Telescopes and Astronomical Apparatuses

Technological advancements help to either validate or repudiate scientific hypotheses and in turn encourage further technological innovations. Early instruments, such as the astrolabe, quadrant, and celestial globe, allowed astronomers and navigators to determine the positions of the stars while newer inventions, such as the telescope, augmented human perception and allowed for new discoveries. While emergent technologies helped to push the limits of the field, residual technologies often maintained their hold on mainstream use. Joseph Moxon’s A Tutor to Astronomy and Geography… (London: S. Roycroft, 1686) relies on older apparatuses, such as the Ptolomaick sphere, to teach the fundamentals of astronomy, while Pierre Borel’s De vero telescopii inventore… (The Hague, 1655) presents a brief history of the telescope and its use. At the time, the telescope was still a relatively new device, which Borel defines as an instrument used to scan the most distant objects. He also describes its parts and functions.