Telescopes have been one of the most awe-inspiring instruments to not only the ardent scientists and astronomers, but to almost every human being. To be able to view fascinating objects billions and billions of miles away from us is truly a phenomenal experience that this instrument provides. What is even more enthralling is that telescopes ingeniously detect electromagnetic radiations as wel. There are large varieties of telescopes available, although the safest bet would be the optical telescopes. Telescopes are basically operated by focusing on the visible light of the electromagnetic spectrum and capturing it. Lens and mirrors are imperative to achieve the motive of this astronomical invention. Telescopes can be categorized in several ways. While some are classified according to their specification, ranging from professional to amateur, others are classified by the determining factor which is the type of light or particle reserved for observation. Yet there are others that are differentiated by the task they perform. The first functional telescope was constructed by Dutch lens makers that most popularly included Hans Lippershey, in 1608. However, these telescopes could only magnify objects by a factor of three. Soon enough, Galileo increased this to a factor of 32. Let’s delve deeper into the different types of telescopes as we read the rest of this article.
Different Kinds Of Telescopes
Various telescopes differ from others as they cater to observing differing types of electromagnetic radiation (EM). Optical telescopes are found in abundance. Apart from this, there are radio telescopes, infrared telescopes, gamma-ray telescopes, and x-ray telescopes. The earth’s atmosphere mars most of the discernible electromagnetic radiation, which has spawned several advances in the field of astronomy and the subject related instruments.
The attached lenses refract the light penetrating through the device. This light converges straight from the objective lens to a focal point, giving rise to a magnified view. Similar to the earliest optical telescopes, the refractor boasts of an optical system that is highly resistant to misalignment. Greatly reliable and very convenient to travel with, this rugged invention entails lesser cleaning as the glass surface inside the tube is sealed. However, refractor telescopes are more expensive than reflector telescopes. The best for the eye is apochromatic refractor telescopes, but it will drill a hole in your pocket nonetheless!
Unlike refractor telescopes, reflector telescopes capitalize on mirrors instead of lenses! Curved mirrors collect light and then reflect it for concentration. The parabolic shaped mirror helps focus the parallel rays of light emanating from the celestial bodies to a single focal point. Also identified as Newtonian Reflectors, these devices are budget friendly and very effective. Reflector telescopes spare you from the worries of chromatic aberration, since all wavelengths reflect off the mirror in the same manner. The downside of this device is that constant adjustments and alterations must be made to enhance smooth operation.
When both the salient features of the refractor and reflector telescopes are consolidated into one, you will most probably be left with a Catadioptric telescope. For the desired image to be magnified and viewed, both the mirrors and lenses direct and reflect the light towards a bigger mirror, thus, offering an overall better view. Although these sleek devices are small and easy to maneuver, they come with a heavy price. The Schmidt variety and the Maksutov are two very coveted variations of the Catadioptric telescopes.
Ideal for radio astronomy, radio telescopes are derived from dishes in groups or pairs. Relevant information from the satellites and space probes are gathered and tracked down through the utilization of a directional radio antenna. They serve as pivotal fixtures for the radio frequency portion of the electromagnetic spectrum.
X-Ray & Gamma Ray Telescopes
X-ray telescopes are obviously high energy telescopes used to observe the elements of the x-ray spectrum. Mirrors (composed of heavy metals) and coded apertures assist them in their image visualization task. Placed on either the satellites orbiting the earth or on high flying balloons, Gamma ray telescopes also visualize images.
A high quality pair of binoculars is often more efficient that a cheap telescope! If you cannot afford a decent optical telescope, you ought to invest in a fine set of binoculars and carry on with your astronomical expedition!
Now you have a wide array of telescopes to choose from. Your criterion can vary from design to price to clarity of view (which of course should matter the most). A telescope provides a peek into the mysterious universe that suspends far beyond our natural eyesight. To observe the celestial and terrestrial bodies is an experience one shouldn’t evade.