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Types Of Telescopes For Astronomy

Types Of Telescopes For Astronomy

Basic Telescope Designs

The job of a telescope is to gather light, not to magnify an image (the eyepiece does that job). The bigger the target (the half that collects the light) whether or not it be a lens, in refractors, or a mirror, in reflectors, the more light the telescope will collect. The more light you'll be able to gather, the more element you'll be able to capture, and likewise important for astrophotography, the shorter your exposures will must be to capture this detail.

Refractor Telescopes

The type of telescope most individuals visualize after they hear the word telescope is the 'Refractor'. This is what Galileo used for his break-by discoveries. A refractor has an objective lens on the front which passes the light straight by way of to the back of the tube, focusing this light at an eyepiece or for astrophotography a camera.


-No central obstruction (see more within the reflecting scopes), giving higher contrast.

-As a result of easy design they require little maintenance.

-Excellent for planetary and lunar viewing and photography.

-Wonderful for broad area viewing and astrophotography especially in shorter focal lengths (more on this later).

-Because the objective is permanently mounted and aligned there isn't a need for collimation (again more on this in another article).

-Wonderful color in apochromatic and ED (Extra Dispersion) designs.


-Costlier per inch of aperture (goal) than reflectors and catadioptric telescopes.

-Can change into bulky and tough to handle, especially in larger lens designs.

Newtonian Telescopes

This design was invented by Sir Isaac Newton (he of the apple on the head fame). Instead of a lens on the front of the tube this telescope design uses a concave, parabolic mirror to gather light reflecting it back towards the entrance of the tube to a flat diagonal mirror which displays the light out the side of the telescope to the eyepiece or camera for astrophotography.


-Lowest cost per inch of all of the telescope designs.

-More light gathering power per dollar because of the decrease price design.

-Absolutely good shade rendition.

-More compact design compared to a refractor of comparable light gathering ability.

-Wonderful distinction for planetary and lunar astrophotography and viewing in longer focal lengths.

-Can get wonderful huge-area astrophotos and short exposures in shorter focal lengths.


-Slight lack of contrast because of the central obstruction (the flat secondary mirror) as compared to a refractor.

-Requires more upkeep, akin to collimation (discussed in another article) which is vital for great ends in your astrophotography, although you'll learn how to do this rapidly with practice.

Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescopes

This is a very talked-about design, with a high tech look. Also referred to as a CAT (Catadrioptics). They use a mixture of lenses and mirrors to gather and focus the light onto the eyepiece or camera. The light enters the telescope by way of a thin 'lens' called a schmidt corrector plate, goes to the back of the scope to a spherical primary mirror which displays the light back towards the front. Here the light strikes another mirror, the secondary mirror which is mounted on the corrector plate. This secondary mirror then displays the light back towards the back the place it's focused onto a gap in the major mirror the place the light is collected by an eyepiece or your astrophotography camera.


-Compact and portable.

-Low maintenance although as soon as again collimation is required for high performance.

-Many, many astrophotography accessories available.

-Cheaper per inch of aperture as compared with refractors.

-Wonderful all-round telescope, good to very good for each visible and astrophography.

-Very good for planetary and lunar viewing and astrophotography.

-Excellent to glorious for DSO (Deep Space Clothes Object) astrophotography with a caveat (see the disadvantages).

-Superb to excellent optics, each Meade and Celestron are placing out excellent optics on a consistent basis.


-Costlier per inch of aperture as compared with Newtonian telescopes.

-Loss of distinction because of the central obstruction which is even bigger than that within the Newtonian scopes.

-As a result of their longer focal lengths the sphere of view is smaller and longer exposures are required for astrophotography, though a lens often called a focal reducer is available which minimizes or removes this problem. The longer focal size is actually an advantage in planetary and lunar photography.