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Leonard Digges (1510-1571)and his son Thomas (1545 -1595) used a telescope to produce a diagram of the planets.

A perfit defcription of the Caeleftiall Orbes, according to the most auncient doctrine of the Pythagoreans.

This was how Thomas Digges introduced his 1576 diagram of the planatary orbits.

The first telescope?
It is not possible to be certain when the first telescope was built.
Nor can we be certain who invented the microscope but it is certain that the microscope came first.
Glass lenses were being used for spectacles during the 16th century
and much earlier Roger Bacon (1210 - 1294) an Englishman, experimented with lenses & mirrors.
Some drawings of natural objects, which must have been drawn with the help of a magnifier,
were published in Germany before 1600 and the Jesuit priest Kircher in the 17th century listed
6 different kinds of microsope. Using the same logic it is now thought likely that Leonard Digges (1510-1571)
and his son Thomas (1545 -1595) used a telescope to produce a diagram of the planets.

A perfit defcription of the Caeleftiall Orbes,
according to the most auncient doctrine of the Pythagoreans.

This was how Thomas Digges introduced his 1576 diagram of the planatary orbits.
Now it can be told: British scientists beat Galileo by 33 years
By Adrian Berry Science Correspondent. The Daily Telegraph dated Thursday October 31 1991.
The first star-gazing telescope was invented by two British scientists during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1,
more than 30 years earlier than hitherto believed, a scientist historian said last night.
The discovery was probably kept secret for military reasons – “ the 16th century equivalent to a D-notice” -
said Mr Colin Ronan in his presidential address to the British Astronomical Association.
The two inventors, who dabbled in many branches of sciences, were Leonard Digges, who died in 1571, and his son Thomas,
who died in 1595. Leonard worked out the principles of the reflecting telescope
and Thomas later used it to observe stars invisible to the naked eye.
The proof of this, Mr Ronan said, was a diagram that Thomas Digges drew in 1576 showing planetary orbits round the Sun
as described by Copernicus 40 years before, surrounded by pictures of what he called
“this orbe of stares fixed infinitely…..with perpetuall shininge glorious lightes innumerable”.
Mr Ronan said; “This was what Galileo saw 33 years later (in 1610. Ed) when he first looked at the stars
through the telescope made by the Dutch lens maker Hans Lipperhey.
It was always believed until now that Lipperhey made the first practical telescope.”
Actually Galileo is thought to have taken a Lipperhey telescope and improved it so the magnification increased to 30x.(Ed)
He suggested that the Diggeses’ invention was kept secret because it was a means of detecting hostile Spanish ship.
“If the Spaniards had known we possessed such instruments, they could have changed the shapes of their sails.”
At the time Thomas Digges first used his telescope, there was extreme nervousness in England about a Spanish invasion,
and 12 years later the Spanish Armada did attack.
Because of this fear, Thomas’s book containing the illustration was never published.
Mr Ronan tracked down part of the manuscript in the British Library.
Lipperhey’s telescope was also kept secret for a time by the Dutch military authorities, who were also at war with Spain.
Another reason why the Diggeses’ achievment had been ignored by scholars, Mr Ronan said, was the belief of Alexandra Koyre,
the modern astronomical historian, that Thomas was talking about a “theological heaven”, not an actual astronomical sky.
Thomas Digges also said his telescope enabled him to see far-off objects,
“as plainly as if you were corporally present, although it be distante from you as farre as eye can discrye”.
Mr Patrick Moore, the astronomer, said yesterday that Mr Ronan has made an
“extremely exciting discovery which deserves to be taken seriously”.
Last year, Mr Ronan had a 15-mile wide asteroid named after him
by the International Astronomical Union in honour of his scientific books.
Digges’s refracting telescope had essentially the same design as many modern telescopes that weigh hundreds of tons.
It was a “Newtonian reflector”, the “first really successful instrument” that supposedly
was first used by Isaac Newton and his colleagues a century later.
In a reflector, the eyepiece is at the side of the instrument, collecting light by means of a mirror.
But a “refractor”, the type invented by the Digges & Lipperhey and used by Gallileo,
contains no mirrors, and the observer looks through one end.
“Both the Digges were highly practical mathematicians and navigators,” Mr Ronan said.
In Bloody Mary’s reign, Leonard Digges was condemned to death for taking part in an uprising to protest
at the Queen’s marriage to King Philip II of Spain. He was pardoned when Elizabeth came to the throne.
Thomas Digges was elected MP for Wallingford in 1572 and later MP for Southampton.
He was also made overseer for the repair and refortification of Dover harbour.
He fought in the Dutch wars against Spain with the rank of “muster-master-general of the English forces”.
According to the Victorian scholar James Halliwell,
 “Thomas Digges ranks among the first mathematicians of the 16th century”.

A story published by BBC NEWS on 14th Jan 2009
By Christine McGourty, Science correspondent.

"Moon maps" created by a little-known Englishman 400 years ago are to go on display
to mark the launch of the International Year of Astronomy.
Experts say they prove their creator - Thomas Harriot - beat Galileo to become the first man
to view the Moon through a telescope.
The Italian philosopher is credited with the feat in December 1609 but papers at the
West Sussex Record Office show that Harriot drew images of the Moon several months earlier.
Dr Allan Chapman, a science historian at Oxford University, said Harriot's composite drawing of the Moon -
produced in 1612 or 1613 - marked "the birth of modern cartography".
"Thomas Harriot was not only the first person ever to draw an astronomical body with a telescope on 26th July 1609,
he rapidly developed to become an absolutely superb lunar cartographer," he said.
"There weren't equivalent lunar drawings to be done for another 30 years.
"Tragically, no-one knew of it until relatively recent times, so Galileo gets all the credit."
Harriot was a weathly gentleman with no desire for fame and fortune, unlike Galileo, said Dr Chapman.
"He was comfortably off and had two friends in the Tower of London for political crimes and had no wish to raise his profile.
"Galileo in Italy on the other hand was relatively hard-up, mid-40s and wanted fame and distinction.
Galileo goes for publication. Harriot stays nice and quiet;
and it was not until modern times that Harriot's achievements get noticed.
" The first Moon map he drew - on 26th July 1609 - will be on display in Florence, Italy,
this summer as part of an exhibition on Galileo.
A selection of other images will go on display at the Science Museum in London from 23rd July at an exhibition,
Cosmos & Culture, to celebrate the International Year of Astronomy.
Astronomer Sir Patrick Moore said: "I'm sorry Harriot isn't better known over here... after all, we all know Galileo.
"But Harriot was first... and his map of the Moon is better than Galileo's."
"Looking at Harriot's map, it really is a work of art. He saw the mountains, craters and the so-called seas."
"It really is a wonderful thing and it's British."
"Harriot was first, no question about it, and his map of the Moon was good. Galileo came after, but went much further".
"Harriot never took things as far as he might have done.
We've got to give Galileo pride of place but don't forget Harriot."
The general public can see copies of the priceless originals - privately owned by Lord Egremont -
at the West Sussex Record Office in Chichester.
There will also be a month-long exhibition at the Record Office, from 24th July,
featuring Harriot's images of Jupiter's satellites, sunspots and Halley's comet.

Another interesting story / claim was made in an article from BBC NEWS dated 16th Sept 2008.
Controversy over telescope origin
New evidence suggests the telescope may have been invented in Spain,
not the Netherlands or Italy as has previously been assumed.
The findings outlined in the magazine History Today,
 suggest the telescope's creator could have been a spectacle-maker based in Gerona, Spain.
The first refracting telescopes were thought to have appeared in the Netherlands in 1608.( According to this article. Ed)
But the first examples may actually have been made for Spanish merchants.
The inventor, according to historian Nick Pelling,
could have been a man called Juan Roget, who died between 1617 and 1624.
The idea subsequently travelled north to the Netherlands,
 where, in 1608, three separate individuals claimed the invention as their own.


But as Leonard Digges and his son Thomas had to have used a telescope
to draw their perfect description of the celestrial orbes in 1576,
I believe the first refracting telescope was made in Britain.  

The Reflecting Telescope
It was in 1668 that Newton made his first (in fact, the first ever) reflecting telescope,
having abandoned the attempt to improve refracting telescopes.
He constructed his own tools to manufacture some of the parts.
The reflecting telescope used parabolic mirrors rather than lenses
and thus avoided the problem of colour dispersion (‘chromatic aberration’)
a phenomenon that could prove very distracting to viewers of a magnified image.
This was a very practical solution and it has been suggested that Newton’s interests
in practical alchemy and magical experimentation provided the necessary mindset to solve the problem.