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"At its best, SF is the medium in which our miserable certainty that tomorrow will be different from today in ways we can't predict, can be transmuted to a sense of excitement and anticipation, occasionally evolving into awe."
- John Brunner

Electro-Telescope  
  A device that could clearly image space battles from a great distance.  

Around a small electro-telescope a group of officials were gathered. The telescopic image was magnified through a prism series, and was spread upon a little two-foot mirror grid so that in the gloom all might see it...

The silent drama of space had almost reached its climax. The little transport ship, Queen of the Starways, showed clearly etched against the starfield of the mirror grid image. And behind and above it was another shape - a long, black, queerly domed vehicle. A Nomad ship.

From Blood of the Moon, by Ray Cummings.
Published by Thrilling Wonder Stories in 1936
Additional resources -

Compare to the Directrix, a somewhat more grandiose viewing device from E.E. 'Doc' Smith's 1942 novel Gray Lensman.

This science-fictional instrument is a variant on the idea of a heliostat telescope that uses a moving mirror to follow the sun's movement, and then beam the image to a static device.

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  More Ideas and Technology from Blood of the Moon
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