Our team at Stargazing Telescopes is dedicated to helping you find the perfect telescope for you. Read this blog to learn more about the different types of telescopes to help you make your selection! 

Reflector telescopes

Reflector telescopes, also known as the Newtonian reflector, is the most popular and cost-effective telescope. This is because mirrors are used to reflect light gathered by the telescope to form an image at the eyepiece. The light from an image is directed to the bottom of the telescope tube, where the primary mirror is set up. The light bounces the image to a secondary smaller mirror which is mounted at an angle to present the image at the eyepiece. The eyepiece can be moved forward and backwards to adjust the focus for a clearer image.

Reflecting telescopes are the way to go if you’re on a budget. With a large aperture, these telescopes can provide crisp images in a wide field. Although they can display optical distortions called spherical aberration, it can easily be overcome by using the correct lens. These telescopes do require regular maintenance due to the dust that can settle on the mirrors over time.

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Refractor telescopes

Refractor telescopes work by bending light to form an image. They are more expensive than the reflector telescopes because they utilise lens prisms. These telescopes require almost no maintenance and are easy to set up. Refractors with a high focal ratio of f/8 or f/10 can be used for looking at the moon and planets, and even refractors with a low focal ratio (f/5) can provide detailed images with larger magnification.

Due to the use of the prisms, distortions called chromatic aberration, or colour fringing, can occur. This presents as a purple ring of light around bright objects and occurs because of wavelengths in light focusing at various rates as it passes through the prisms. This can be overcome by using a special type of glass that allows the wavelengths to focus at a singular point.

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Catadioptric telescopes

Also known as Makutsov-Cassegrain telescopes, these telescopes utilise both lenses and mirrors to form an image, sort of like a hybrid of a reflector and refractor telescopes. There is a spherical mirror in the back of the telescope that gathers the light and a curved lens at the front.

The long focal length and short tube make this telescope portable and powerful at the same time. With a focal ratio of f12 to f14, these telescopes eliminate optical distortions that may occur on reflector and refractor telescopes. The high focal ratios allow for high magnification, but results in a narrower field of view so is difficult to get entire images of larger objects like nebulae or galaxies. These telescopes also have smaller apertures, which means dim and faint objects are more difficult to see.

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Go-to telescopes

Go-to telescopes, or the computerised auto-finding telescope, can locate and direct the user to any object in the sky. The telescope needs to be aligned with two positions, or stars, in the sky. This calibrates the telescope and enables it to create a map of the sky, which it uses to locate any object. These telescopes also track the sky, which is important to counteract the rotating movement of the Earth which it does at the correct speed. This telescope is more expensive but easier to set up for regular use.

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Hopefully, after reading this post you have a better idea about the different kinds of telescopes out there. This information will help guide you when deciding to purchase your own telescope. If you need more support, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us! You can contact us here