This exhibition has now closed.

This small display revealed the work of pioneering Scots in the development of the reflective telescope. In particular, it highlighted the work of James Gregory (1638‑75), a contemporary of Isaac Newton and Professor of Mathematics at St Andrews then Edinburgh University. Gregory published an innovative design for a ‘reflecting’ telescope in 1663. A predecessor of the modern telescope, Gregory’s device used mirrors, rather than glass lenses, to create a more compact instrument and sharper images.

  • 18-inch silvered glass telescope speculum by George With, 1878.

    18-inch silvered glass telescope speculum by George With, 1878.
  • Reflecting telescope by Edward Scarlett, London, c. 1730.

    Reflecting telescope by Edward Scarlett, London, c. 1730.
  • Reflecting telescope made by James Short of London, c. 1765.

    Reflecting telescope made by James Short of London, c. 1765.
  • Portrait of James Gregory, mathematician and inventor of the reflecting telescope, attributed to Richard Waitt (1708-32).

    Portrait of James Gregory, mathematician and inventor of the reflecting telescope, attributed to Richard Waitt (1708-32).
  • Section of a reflecting telescope for astronomy.

    Section of a reflecting telescope for astronomy.

 

Early examples of Gregorian telescopes produced by Edinburgh-born optician James Short (1710-68) were also included. Combining self-taught engineering skills with an interest in practical mathematics, Short constructed over 1,300 telescopes in his lifetime.

The display also touched upon astronomy in Edinburgh, a city that has remained at the forefront of astronomical research and discovery for more than four centuries.

Explore more

Pinterest board
Stargazing

More

Feature
Natural World galleries

A giant T.rex guards our Natural World galleries, where we ask the big questions: how does the world work? What do we know about it?
More

Story
Schmidt telescope

Find out how this revolutionary telescope was invented, and how it found a home at the National Museum of Scotland.
More
Exhibition information

When

25 Mar - 28 Aug 2016
10:00 - 17:00

Where

Three display cases, Grand Gallery, Level 1

How much

Free

Back to top