Known as the instruments created for observing distant objects, telescopes can be categorized into different types such as the optical telescope. Under this specific category, the instruments are classified into seven kinds based on their functions. Two kinds of optical telescopes that are widely used today are the refracting telescope and the reflecting telescope. In order to have ideas about these instruments, described below are the biggest telescopes in the world.
What is the biggest telescope? The Yerkes telescope is the biggest refracting telescope. This instrument was completed in 1897 and it was created by popular optician Alvan Clark. The instrument has a diameter of 40 inches. The telescope was first exhibited at the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893 in Chicago, Illinois. Other exhibits where the instrument was also featured are the 1900 Paris Universal Exhibition and the 1900 Great Paris Exhibition Telescope. The instrument can be seen at the Yerkes Observatory at Williams Bay in Wisconsin.
Reflector telescopes are categorized into two kinds. The first kind of this instrument has a single mirror that is made up of a single glass piece. The second kind is a telescope, which mirror is made up of several hexagonal mirrors. The biggest reflecting telescope that is categorized under the first kind is the Large Binocular Telescope. This instrument has two single mirrors that can be blended to produce a single image. Each mirror in the telescope has a width of 330 inches or 8.4 meters. When the mirrors are combined, the total measurement is 464 inches or 11.8 meters. This instrument can be found at the Mount Graham International Observatory in Arizona.
The biggest telescope that is categorized under the second kind is the South African Large Telescope. The total measurement of the segmented mirrors of the instrument is 433 inches or 11 meters. The aperture of the device 11.1 meters x 9.8 meters diameter aperture. This instrument is primarily used for spectroscopy. It can be seen at Karoo in South Africa. The device is maintained by the South African Astronomical Observatory.
The South African Large Telescope is useful for the polarimetric, imaging and spectroscopic analysis of distant objects. In order to finish the development of the instrument, the South African government contributed funds amounting to $36 million. Other countries also supported the creation of the biggest telescope in the world. The nations that contributed for the development of the device are the United States, New Zealand, Poland, New Kingdom and the Germany.