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The Man who Built the Largest Telescope in the World in Poland – 1611

The Man who Built the Largest Telescope in the World in Poland – 1611

Johannes Hevelius built the largest telescope in the world in Gdańsk. Its lens had a diameter of 120 millimeters. It is interesting that Hevelius named as many as seven officially-recognized constellations.

Johannes Hevelius, the man considered to have been the founder of Lunar topography, was born on this day in 1611. Namely, in the 17th century Hevelius conducted astronomical research of the Lunar surface and wrote a work called Selenographia, sive Lunae descriptio (Selenography, or A Description of the Moon).

Hevelius was born in the Polish city of Gdańsk and is usually considered a Pole, even though his father hailed from a German-speaking area of Bohemia. In any case, Hevelius was a subject of the Polish king. There exists some similarity between Hevelius and Nicolaus Copernicus, Namely, Copernicus spent most of his life in the town of Frombork in what is now northern Poland, located only some 40 km from Copernicus’s Gdańsk. However, Copernicus and Hevelius were separated by time – Copernicus lived in the 16th century, but Hevelius in the 17th.

Hevelius even became the mayor of Gdańsk during his lifetime. He built the largest telescope in the world in that city. Its lens had a diameter of 120 millimeters, and was made around the year 1645.

It is interesting that Hevelius named as many as seven officially-recognized constellations. Among them is the constellation of Scutum (Shield), which he originally named Scutum Sobiescianum, after the famous Polish king John III Sobieski.

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