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terrestrial telescope (plural terrestrial telescopes)

  1. A telescope which, unlike most telescopes used for astronomical purposes, contains an arrangement of lenses presenting an erect (non-inverted) image to the observer, suitable for observation of objects on the Earth's surface.
    • 1898 April 12, "Harbor and Coast Defense," New York Times, p. 4 (retrieved 6 Feb 2010):
      Fort Hancock, at Sandy Hook, has been supplied with an immense terrestrial telescope, to be used for vessels at sea.
  2. (astronomy) An astronomical telescope which is physically located on the surface of the Earth, as distinct from a telescope located in outer space.
    • 2009 May 10, Irene Klotz, "Space shuttle ready to fix Hubble for grand finale," Reuters (UK) (retrieved 6 Feb 2010):
      Though its light-collecting mirror is modest by terrestrial telescope standards . . . its precision focus and perch above Earth's distorting atmosphere make Hubble's observations the benchmark by which all other observatories are measured.