Telescopes: Through the Looking Glass

The Dearborn refractor

Meet Chicago’s legendary Dearborn refractor, take a look through a 17th-century instrument, and learn how telescopes transformed our understanding of the universe

Astronomers have studied the sky for thousands of years, but until about 400 years ago, they did it without telescopes. In this exhibition, you’ll see rare and spectacular instruments spanning four centuries, as well as rare books, documents, and models showing how the telescope has shaped our knowledge of the universe.

You’ll get a crash course in telescope technology, experiment with lenses to see how they bend light in different ways, and discover the South Pole Telescope, which was designed to explore the properties of the cosmic microwave background—the oldest light in the universe.


Your all-access pass to our universe!

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