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"In 1970 I found little difficulty staying 30 years ahead of the man in the street, and now I find it difficult to stay 18 months ahead of the man on the street."
- Vernor Vinge

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.

Compare to the Photoelectric Telescope (Photoelectric Eyes) from The Cometeers (1936) by Jack Williamson, the Liquid Mirror Telescope from Old Faithful (1934) by Raymond Z. Gallun, the ultra-telescope ray from The Moon Weed (1931) by Harl Vincent, the hyperspace beacon from The Repairman (1959) by Harry Harrison, and the robot observatory from Space Rating (1939) by John Berryman.

See also the Reflectocosmic Spectrometer from Buck Rogers: 2430 AD (1929) by Nowlan and Calkin, Spectro-Flash Analysis from Salvage in Space (1933) by Jack Williamson and the Telespectroscope from Cosmic Quest (1936) by Edmond Hamilton.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Blood of the Moon
  More Ideas and Technology by Ray Cummings
  Tech news articles related to Blood of the Moon
  Tech news articles related to works by Ray Cummings

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