To Telescope or not?

Did you know that the Hubble Space Telescope has its on website? The really cool website is It makes sense this massive device has its on website  because this telescope is one of the first and largest in the world and is still in rotation. Launched in 1990, this telescope weighs almost 25, 000 pounds!

Telescopes serve various purposes based on the type of telescope. Some telescopes are made to simply show what is being viewed. There are many types of telescopes, but the most common 3 types of telescopes are: reflecting, refracting and optical. The most common type of these 3 telescopes is the Optical. Optical Telescopes are a collection of lenses and mirrors that is used to allow the viewer to see distant objects more clearly by magnifying them or to increase the effective brightness of a faint object. A reflecting telescope is a telescope that uses a group of mirrors to display images. One day during class, we had large telescope brought in that was a reflecting telescope. The interior mirrors are singular method of visibility for the viewer. Ironically, as my professor brought out, many older viewers do not even notice the mirror that is inside the telescope when they look in, while younger viewers notice this first.

A refracting telescope is a telescope that is common because of the lower price, but not as efficient for quality viewing because the telescope relies on lenses which can be problematic if these devices are not clearly polished. One way that I was to think about this type of telescope is to think of a person wearing glasses. Some people polish their glasses several times a day and even the smallest smudge has them looking a handkerchief to re-polish. The same is true with a refracting telescope, small smudges or dust can cause visibility to be inaccurate.

When we think of telescopes we think of the common “laymen’s” purpose for a telescope, which is to see Stars and maybe a planet on a clear night with a more advanced telescope. However, the primary function of a telescope is for light gathering. Telescopes allow the viewing of stars and plants more clearly because the light is refined to show actual images, rather than what we see with the naked eye.

Each type of telescope plays a different role in its best position for viewing and ultimately gathering data for recording. Some telescopes need to be used to record space activity, while still maintaining an accurate image through various temperatures and light frequencies. Other telescopes are used for the purpose of viewing, so these telescopes can be placed on Earth as their primary function is for informal “star gazing” for the viewer.


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