All About Telescopes!

A telescope is an instrument used to magnify and enhance the view of faraway objects in space, astronomical or terrestrial. Most telescopes fall into one of two main categories, refractor or reflector. Also available are Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes which is a combination of reflector and refractor.

A refractor telescope uses convex (bending outwards) lenses to collect, focus and magnify light. Rays of light travel through the objective (main) lens where they are focused at the focal length of the eyepiece.

A reflector telescope, on the other hand, uses concave, which means bending inwards like a cave, mirrors. As the diagram illustrates, light travels down the tube where it is reflected (hence the name reflector) up to a secondary mirror near the top of the tube, which directs the light into the eyepiece.

A third type of telescope, which has gained immense popularity over the last 30 years, is the Schmidt Cassegrain telescope. This type of telescope uses both lenses and mirrors in a compound system as can be seen in the third diagram.

Some telescopes are placed on land and some in space. The telescopes which are placed on Earth are best for observing the moon and planets. The telescopes which are placed in space are best for things like galaxies and such things we are not able to see from Earth.

I’ve always wanted a telescope of my own. I feel like telescopes are one of the coolest things invented. They have such high power that we can see stars and the moon with them. Even things that are so microscopic are fairly visible. I feel that there is so much you can do with a telescope and it is so fun.

In class we got to see what a telescope looks like. All the parts explained seemed very cool and interesting. I like how people are able to come up with such things. Also the lecture tutorials which talked about the parts and functions was very helpful to understand the material.


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