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Types Of Telescopes
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Types Of Telescopes

Knowing the existing types of telescopes is an important step toward choosing the right one. It can become a confusing task due to the many designs available and the specific features each telescope possess. Not only is it crucial to know the basics of telescopy but it is also important to be familiar with the current trends in the world of astronomy.

A telescope is an intrument that magnifies remote objects. Basically, there are three types of optical telescopes: refractors, reflectors, and a combination of the two called catadioptrics. In a reflector telescope, light enters the device and is reflected by a single or a combination of many curved mirrors. The magnified reflected image is seen through the eyepiece. In a refractor telescope, rays of light enter the device through a lens called the objective. This lens bends or refracts light in such a way as to create a magnified “virtual” image that can be seen through an eyepiece.

Refractors with a small aperture have the advantage of being portable and inexpensive. They are great for observing the Moon and the major planets especially if you live in a suburb far from the city and free of pollution. On the other hand, reflector telescopes are great for planetary and deep-sky observations but they are quite fragile and require more maintenance. The catadioptrics are extremely versatile telescopes and fit most purposes. Perfect for observation of planets, galaxies and astrophotography.

When facing the great variety of telescopes in the market, one might think that magnification is the most critical aspect when choosing a telescope; however it is the aperture that must receive the most attention, this is, how much light the telescope can recollect. The telescope mount should be also taken into account, take for example the amazing GoTo telescopes which allow to automatically point to astronomical objects. Telescope brands are equally necessary to examine. Celestor and Meade are the two leaders in amateur astronomy. Orion, Bushnell and Tasco are other relevant names to have in mind.

It is crucial to gather as much information as possible to become acquainted with optics and astronomy. The internet offers a great deal of forums about these topics. Nonetheless, it is always a good idea to complement this information with a serious magazine. Astronomy Now, Sky & Telescope, and Sky at Night are three of the most respectable magazines currently available.

Being able to know and describe the differences among the existing types of telescopes will allow you to choose the best option for your needs. It will also cultivate your body of knowledge if you are serious about astronomy and telescopy or even if you are just planning to give a telescope as a gift.


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