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CHRISTIAAN HUYGENS
CHRISTIAAN HUYGENS
The Hague, Netherlands (/1629/ - /1695/)
Using the Paris Observatory (completed in 1672), Christiaan Huygens made further astronomical observations. In 1684 he published Astroscopia Compendiaria which presented his new aerial (tubeless) telescope.
 

Enjoy these insightful and educational video clips drawn from over 70 hours of interviews with the world's leading figures in astronomy, shot during the filming of 400 Years of the Telescope.

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Scott Fisher

Gemini North
Scott Fisher - Gemini North

There are two telescopes: the twin Gemini telescopes we like to call them. One is here in Mauna Kea where weíre standing right now and one is in central Chile, on western South America, on the coast of South America.

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Scott Fisher

The impact of the telescope
Scott Fisher - Gemini North

Weíre all astronomers a little bit because we all look up and we see the moon and stars and the planets up in the sky. I think everybody feels a little bit of awe because of that stuff. Until the invention of the telescope our eyes were the windows into our universe so we were limited by the capability of our eyes.

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Scott Fisher

Infrared and adaptive optics
Scott Fisher - Gemini North

This is the beauty of working in the infrared is that what you see up there is not really what you get. Our eyes are attuned to visible light. We see all the colors of the rainbow. Well, thereís a lot of other colors that we canít see with our eyes, but our cameras can see them. In the near infrared, thatís very similar to night vision goggles.

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Scott Fisher

Why is astronomy important?
Scott Fisher - Gemini North

I think a lot of people make the mistake of thinking the sky is static and it doesnít change. Itís very dynamic up there and it gives you a perspective check. People who study astronomy as a hobby or as a profession, have a very unique perspective on our place in the universe.

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Scott Fisher

The laser guide star
Scott Fisher - Gemini North

The laser guide star is actually a laser thatís attached to our telescope and we propagate that laser from the top of the telescope about 70 miles straight up into the air.

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Scott Fisher

A transitional time in astronomy
Scott Fisher - Gemini North

This is a transitional time in astronomy as far as telescopes go. I think some folks would argue that itís always a transitional time because we tend to plan and build bigger telescopes and telescopes with different capabilities. But right now whatís happening is the big telescopes now are like Gemini, Keck and Subaru, and VLT, these are 8 Ė 10 meter telescopes.

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Kathryn Flanagan

James Webb Space Telescope (JWST): The beginning of the universe
Kathryn Flanagan - James Webb Space Telescope (JWST)

The first thing we wish to do is look at the first sources of light in the universe. The very earliest galaxies that formed, the very first clusters of stars that formed from the very first stars. In order to do that, we have to use infrared light as Iíve said.

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Kathryn Flanagan

James Webb Space Telescope (JWST): The origins of life in the cosmos
Kathryn Flanagan - James Webb Space Telescope (JWST)

And finally we come to the fourth major science goal, which would be planetary systems and possibly the origins of life in the cosmos.

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Kathryn Flanagan

JWST: The assembly of galaxies and the birth of stars
Kathryn Flanagan - James Webb Space Telescope (JWST)

Transcript in progress

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Kathryn Flanagan

Are we alone in the universe?
Kathryn Flanagan - James Webb Space Telescope (JWST)

We are definitely looking for the signatures of life, in planets and the atmospheres of planets; thereís no question that is a major goal of much of what NASA astrophysics is doing.

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