On this day in 1879 – March 30th – the German lens maker Bernhard Woldemar Schmidt was born near Tallinn in Estonia.

His name lives on in the Schmidt telescope that bears his name. He invented a telescope mirror that let astronomers get sharp wide-field images of the sky with a single exposure. They are still widely used. The most famous example is the 48-inch Samuel Oschin Telescope at Palomar Observatory, completed in 1948.

Mona Evans
For news, activities, pictures and more, sign up to the Astronomy Newsletter!