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English: A replica of Isaac Newton's second reflecting telescope of 1672.

This was a new design of telescope - the Newtonian reflector. Newton's work on optics and splitting white light, led him to believe that all refracting telescopes would suffer from chromatic aberration. His new design of reflecting telescope minimized this problem. However, due to problems with accurately grinding the mirror, Newton's telescope actually caused more image distortions than other contemporary telescope and more than a century passed before reflecting telescope became popular.

Newton's first telescope had an objective concave primary mirror diameter of about 1.3 inches (33 mm) with a 6 inch (150mm) long focal length. It had the ability to magnify about 40 times, with a performance similar to a 6 foot (2m) long refracting telescope Newton compared it to.

Newton presented a second version of his reflector to the Royal Society in 1672 and was admitted as a fellow of the society in the same year.

This replica of that second Royal Society reflector and is in the Whipple Museum of the History of Science in Cambridge.


  1. PBS/Nova: Newton's Dark Secrets
  2. The History of the Telescope By Henry C. King, Page 74


Photograph © Andrew Dunn, 5 November 2004.
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Image history of en:Image:NewtonsTelescopeReplica.jpg:

  • (del) (rev) 00:32, 6 November 2004 . . Solipsist . . 1024×891 (119,970 bytes) (A replica of Isaac Newton's telescope of 1672.)
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