Class Year




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Document Type

Student Research Paper

Publication Date

Spring 2006


Astronomy has long been a subject which has attracted the interest of man. Examples of early astronomers can be found in many ancient civilizations, including but not limited to, the Egyptians, the Chinese and the Greeks. As time passed the methods for interpreting the stars and theories that surrounded them changed concordant with the technology available. One of the largest breakthroughs in the world of astronomy was the invention of the telescope in the early seventeenth century. Often mis-attributed to Galileo (who was responsible for building the first reflecting telescope in 1688), the telescope was actually first designed by a Dutch spectacle-maker by the name of Johann Lippershey. Improvements were eventually made upon these designs leading to the creation of government funded observatories, such as the Royal Greenwich Observatory in England, and later private and collegiate research observatories. By the early to mid-nineteenth century, the astronomical craze had begun to develop in America, resulting in the creation of many new observatories in the North and West (now the Mid-West). [excerpt]

Course Information:

  • Course Title: HIST 300: Historical Method
  • Academic Term: Spring 2006
  • Course Instructor: Dr. Michael J. Birkner '72

Hidden in Plain Sight is a collection of student papers on objects that are "hidden in plain sight" around the Gettysburg College campus. Topics range from the Glatfelter Hall gargoyles to the statue of Eisenhower and from historical markers to athletic accomplishments. You can download the paper in pdf format and click "View Photo" to see the image in greater detail.


Gettysburg College, observatory, Galileo, Johann Lippershey, astronomy, stargazing


Astrophysics and Astronomy | History | Instrumentation | Stars, Interstellar Medium and the Galaxy

Department 1


Campus Location


Stargazing: Observatories at Gettysburg College, 1874-Present