Types of Telescopes

*There are 3 basic types of telescopes.  The reflector, the refractor, and the compound telescope.  Below are very basic descriptions of each, including the pros and cons and how much each may cost.

The Refracting Telescope:  known simply as a refractor is the simplest and most common type of telescope.  The light enters the front of the telescope and goes directly down a long, thin tube to the eyepiece where you can see it.  Easy and simple, huh?  These are great to look at the moon and planets, and even the sun (with the right type of lens attachment).

The Reflecting Telescope:  known simply as a reflector uses mirrors to bounce the image from one mirror to another mirror and then to the eyepiece that is located on the side of the tube near the top.  These telescopes are great for viewing fainter objects like galaxies, nebulae, and star clusters.

Compound Telescopes:  also known as catadioptric telescopes.  These telescopes allow light to enter through a lens like the refractor and then bounce the image from one mirror and on to a second mirror before going to the eyepiece, like the reflector does.  The two most popular designs are the Schmidt-Cassegrain and the Maksutov-Cassegrain, and they work in slightly different ways.  I’m not going to try and explain that here, but with a little searching you could find out as much as you wanted.


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