04/16/2013 11:42 am ET

Telescope History: 13 Instruments That Sparked Astronomers' Knowledge (PHOTOS)

Who invented the first telescope?

Some stargazers credit Galileo Galilei, who was the first astronomer to systematically study the cosmos with such a device. But historians of science say the credit should really go to Hans Lippershey, a Dutch eyeglass maker. He even attempted to receive a patent for his refracting telescope in 1608, but was denied.

Of course, there's a big gap between those old telescopes and the state-of-the-art ones of today. Check out the slideshow below for a look back at some of the most significant scopes of all time. If we've left out your favorite telescope, please add to the list in the comments.