What Are Telescopes?
Telescopes are optical instruments that makes any distant object appears to be magnified by using an arrangement of lenses or curved mirrors and lenses. They are the equipment you need if you want to observe any distant object through their reflection, emission or absorption.
The very first practical telescopes launched were the refracting telescopes. They were invented and assembled in the Netherlands at the start of the 17th century. It was done with the use of glass lenses alone. It was also the time when they discovered its purpose for both astronomy and terrestrial applications as well.
A reflecting telescope with mirrors to collect and focus light, came to be after a number of decades when the pioneer refracting telescope was established. This includes the radio telescopes from the 1930’s and even the infrared telescopes in the 1960’s.
Now, the word telescope speaks of a wide array of instruments which can detect various regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. The technology has really gone a long way since its discovery in 1611. Usually, a telescope is classified through the wavelengths of light it detects.
Among the many kinds of telecscope are x-ray telescopes, ultraviolet telescopes, optical telescopes, infrared telescopes, submillimetre telescopes, fresnal imager and xray optics.
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Which telescope to buy?
Different Types of Telescope
Refracting Telescope. The refracting telescope is considered to be as the simplest and easiest to use. It usually comes with two lenses. Usually, the light enters the end of the telescope,l and then the lens bends or refracts the light. This is when the image is magnified.
This telescope is quite heavy and large. It comes with an aperture which enables light to go through the primary lens. Hence, the lenses are big and the tube and body are also long. If you want a clear image, this telescope is ideal.
Reflecting Telescope. Reflecting telescope is considered to be the catoptric version of a telescope. The lens and tube system is synonymous to a refracting telescope. It share similar qualities, but it also comes with differences as well such as how the tube enables the light to go through a certain end. At the end of it is a primary mirror, on the other is a secondary mirror.
These reflecting telescopes are well-known since they are compact and smaller as compared to most refracting telescopes. For astronomers, this gadget would enable them to break down and carry their device to other location. Just be careful with its mirrors. There are cases when they are knocked out of their alignment.
Catadioptric Telescope. The catadioptric is a hybrid between refracting and reflecting telescopes. The inside of the tube goes with a corrective lens that enables incoming light. Thus, the light is reflected with its primary mirror to a secondary mirror. This is when it reflects back to the primary mirror and the eyepiece as well.
Telescopes for Kids
Telescopes are not only for adults, but also for kids. Introducing them to this technology is like opening the wonder of the night sky for them. Later on, this can also spark their interest to sciences. As a parent, you surely have the best intentions in giving your child this device. This is one of the reasons why you should strive to make informed decision. How can you do this? Consider following when buying a telescope for your children:
- A stable mount. You should check the telescope mount when getting a telescope for your home from the kid’s department. Afterwards, start putting it together. You will know this by looking at the legs of your mount. If it is rickety and very small, that says a lot about what you are to get.
- Max power. Your choice should be at least capable of setting the telescope’s magnification by at least 50. This ccan be rough but it will be usefu, definitely. The most ideal is the 150 power.
- Solid focuser. You can stay away from cheap plastic focusers. At first, you may not see it as an important aspect. However, you will realise that settling for substandards will only bring you cracking and slipping focusers. Thus, look for a high quality focuser.
- Be careful of jargons. If you are a beginner, technical jargons can be daunting. They can complicate your decision-making. Do not be confused with the options available for you out there. Instead, read and research about the type of telescope that will suit your purpose. Understand what you want and this will do the trick.
- Learn about the maintenance of the telescope. When you read about telescopes, you will discover that you will still need your time and money to maintain yours. You would have to set up, adjust and maintain your unit for crucial activities. If you can handle strict maintenance, then know the type that will work on that. You can only do this when you read.
- Select the aperture wisely. When your aperture has a larger size, it is bigger and brighter. This is how your image will be later. However, understand that a bigger aperture is also large and bulky. This will also require more experience and time to set up. Be careful in looking at the size of your aperture then!
- Avoid focusing on magnification. You will need magnification for sure. However, it is not something you have to think about for your first telescope. The concern should be the aperture which is responsible in getting you a clear image.