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Types Of Telescopes For Astronomy

Types Of Telescopes For Astronomy

Basic Telescope Designs

The job of a telescope is to collect light, not to magnify an image (the eyepiece does that job). The larger the objective (the part that collects the light) whether it's a lens, in refractors, or a mirror, in reflectors, the more light the telescope will collect. The more light you can acquire, the more element you'll be able to seize, and also vital for astrophotography, the shorter your exposures will need to be to seize this detail.

Refractor Telescopes

The type of telescope most individuals visualize when they hear the word telescope is the 'Refractor'. This is what Galileo used for his break-through discoveries. A refractor has an goal lens at the entrance which passes the light straight through 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.

-Because of the easy design they require little maintenance.

-Wonderful for planetary and lunar viewing and photography.

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

-Because the objective is completely mounted and aligned there isn't any need for collimation (again more on this in one other article).

-Excellent colour in apochromatic and ED (Extra Dispersion) designs.


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

-Can turn into bulky and tough to manage, especially in bigger 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 entrance of the tube this telescope design uses a concave, parabolic mirror to collect light reflecting it back towards the front of the tube to a flat diagonal mirror which reflects the light out the side of the telescope to the eyepiece or camera for astrophotography.


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

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

-Completely excellent shade rendition.

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

-Glorious distinction for Mini Drones planetary and lunar astrophotography and viewing in longer focal lengths.

-Can get excellent large-field astrophotos and short exposures in shorter focal lengths.


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

-Requires more upkeep, such as collimation (discussed in one other article) which is important for nice leads to your astrophotography, though you'll discover ways to do this shortly with practice.

Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescopes

This is a very fashionable design, with a high tech look. Also called a CAT (Catadrioptics). They use a combination of lenses and mirrors to collect 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 reflects the light back towards the front. Right here the light strikes another mirror, the secondary mirror which is mounted on the corrector plate. This secondary mirror then reflects the light back towards the back the place it is centered onto a gap in the main mirror the place the light is collected by an eyepiece or your astrophotography camera.


-Compact and portable.

-Low upkeep although once once more collimation is required for prime performance.

-Many, many astrophotography equipment available.

-Cheaper per inch of aperture as compared with refractors.

-Glorious all-spherical telescope, good to excellent for both visual and astrophography.

-Very good for planetary and lunar viewing and astrophotography.

-Very good to wonderful for DSO (Deep Space Object) astrophotography with a caveat (see the disadvantages).

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


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

-Lack of contrast due to the central obstruction which is even bigger than that within the Newtonian scopes.

-Attributable to their longer focal lengths the field of view is smaller and longer exposures are required for astrophotography, though a lens known as a focal reducer is available which minimizes or removes this problem. The longer focal length is actually an advantage in planetary and lunar photography.