Digital Trends

Telescopes have been an essential instrument in the history of astronomy. So much has been learned and will be learned through the use of them. Although, they all have the same general function, telescopes can come in many shapes, sizes, and types. The two main types of telescopes are the refractor and reflecting telescopes. In a refactor telescope, a piece of glass known as the objective lens gathers light and focuses it onto the eyepiece lens, which enlarges the image for our eye to see. Galileo used this type of telescope to see the moons of Jupiter and the phases of Venus. On the other hand, a reflector telescope has two mirrors rather than the refractor’s two lens. One curved mirror reflects the incoming light from a distant object onto a tiny, flat mirror which in turn reflects the light to the eyepiece. Isaac Newton is credited for inventing the reflecting telescope. Reflecting telescopes are the most popular telescopes used for research purposes.


2 thoughts on “Telescopes

  1. I liked your explanations of the two most popular types of telescope and the famous scientist who invented each type. I was wondering though, why are reflecting telescopes used more for research than refracting telescopes? What are the advantages to the reflector that would lead scientists to choose this type more frequently? I think it would be interesting to compare and contrast the pros and cons of each main type of telescope. I am assuming the reflection telescope is more high tech and advanced because it was invented more recently and your description for this type was more complicated. Also, I was wondering, do the refraction and reflection telescopes work for only visible light or for other types of light as well?


  2. Nice summary on telescopes! Another distinction is ground-based vs. space-based. Space-based telescopes are unsurprisingly preferred because they don’t have to deal with distortion from the Earth’s atmosphere. The downside is of course the cost is astronomical (no pun intended). Putting a pound into orbit costs ~$10000 these days and telescopes are heavy!


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