Reflecting Telescope

There are three types of optical telescopes, and all three types are available for amateur star gazers. They are not just limited to the professional area. But if you want an optical telescope, it’s best to know the difference between a refracting telescope and a reflecting telescope. The biggest difference is that a refracting telescope uses glass, and a reflecting model uses mirrors to create the image that your eye processes. The refraction telescope was invented first, but it quickly became clear that the chromatic aberration was too severe. That is, because of the earth’s atmosphere, distant stars were blurry, and the edges were undetectable. Reflecting versions, using mirrors instead of glass lenses, helped them reduce that problem, providing a sharper, brighter image of distant bodies. Isaac Newton is credited with building the first practical reflecting scope, though he is far from the first person to design or consider using mirrors instead of glass.

The very large telescopes used by scientists to view into the deepest reaches of space are reflecting models. This is because it is too difficult to make glass lenses that large. For one thing, the glass will sag in the middle, thus marring the concave or convex shape. Plus, glass lenses need to be held only on the periphery, there cannot be anything supporting it from the middle. Finally, glass lenses need to be perfect on both sides, while mirrors only need to be flawless on one. On a smaller scale, however, glass lenses are perfectly reasonable, and that’s why you can still find refracting telescopes.

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