Credit: ©The Royal Society
    Image number: RS.14997

    Reflecting telescope

    6 January 1672
    Unknown, Artist
    Object type
    Archive reference number
    Manuscript page number
    vol5 p110a
    height (page): 302mm
    width (page): 346mm
    Drawing of Isaac Newton's improvements to the reflecting telescope. Henry Oldenburg made this drawing and sent it to Isaac Newton in a letter, asking him to review and correct it before it was sent on to Christian Huygens to secure Newton's priority for the invention.

    This image is a copy of EL/N1/37/003. The disembodied eye in the original is copied here in graphite, but not traced in ink. A copy of this image may also be found in RBO/4/122 and LBO/5/098a. The two small crowns originally glued onto the page at LBO/5/098a are also reproduced here. The image was printed in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society in March 1672.
    To be inserted between pages 110 & 111 (referring to the pagination of the letter book copy)
    Transcribed by the Making Visible project
    Object history
    At the meeting of the Royal Society on 11 January 1672, ‘Mr. Isaac Newton was elected. [...] Mention was made of Mr. Newton’s improvement of telescopes by contracting them; and that that, which he had sent to the Society of that kind to be examined, had been by the king, and considered also by the president, Sir Robert Moray, Sir Paul Neile, Dr. Christopher Wren, and Mr. Hooke at Whitehall; and that they had so good opinion of it, as they concluded, that a description and scheme of it should be sent by the secretary in a letter to Mons. Huygens then at Paris, thereby to secure this contrivance to the author, who had also written a letter to Mr. Oldenburg from Cambridge, dated January 6, 1671/2, altering and enlarging the description of his instrument, which had been sent him for his review, before it should go abroad. This description was read, and ordered to be entered, together with the scheme, in the Register Book’ (Birch 3:1). Newton’s letter in printed in Birch 3:2-4 without the figure.

    Tab. 1, figs 1-3.1 in Isaac Newton, 'A new catadioptrical telescope', Phil. Trans. vol. 7, no. 81 (March 1672), pp. 4004-10. Ref. to figs 1 and 2 at pp. 4004-05.
    Related fellows
    Isaac Newton (1642 - 1727, British) , Natural philosopher
    Henry Oldenburg (1612 - 1677, German) , Scientific correspondent
    Associated place
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