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David Rittenhouse

By Levi Clancy for Student Reader on

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david rittenhouse portrait
David Rittenhouse
by Charles Willson Peale
(a copy of his own work, ~1791-6)

David Rittenhouse (1732 - 1796) built the first American telescope and used it to observe the path of the planet Venus as it passed across the sun in 1769. Rittenhouse's orrery, a mechanical planetarium, mimicked the orbits of plants.