What type of telescope is better for viewing stars, a reflecting telecope or a refracting telescope?  Why?Research Investigation Project about telescopes. Contrast and compare, similarities and...

What type of telescope is better for viewing stars, a reflecting telecope or a refracting telescope?  Why?

Research Investigation Project about telescopes. Contrast and compare, similarities and differences, that kind of stuff.  Appreciate your help, thank you!

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bandmanjoe's profile pic

bandmanjoe | Middle School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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The reflecting telescope is the better choice among astronomers, by far.  The purpose of a telescope is to collect electromagnetic radiation from a source, such as a star, and focus it into an image.  Some of these sources are very far away, so the better your radiation-collecting apparatus, the better resolution you will have on producing your image.  To achieve this with refracting telescopes, you would have to have lenses that are very large, very heavy, and very cumbersome to manipulate into position.  Reflecting telescopes use a series of lenses and mirrors to capture the maximum amount of radiation and focus it into a sharp, clear image.  The first telescopes were built in the 1600s, in Europe.  The story has it that Galileo Galilei was among the first to use one of the first telescopes, which was little more than an ocular eyepiece, an extended tube, and a lens in the distal end.  With this primitive telescope, Galileo observed the four large moons orbiting Jupiter, Io, Callisto, Europa, and Ganymede.  They are still referred to as the Galilean satellites today.

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kritish's profile pic

kritish | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

Yes, they are generally two types of telescopes. Reflectors and refractors. The first ones use mirrors and the latter lenses. Of course they are some combinations of lenses and mirrors too, but let us keep it simple. :) I'm an astronomer myself and I prefer reflectors, because you can make quite good quality mirrors that are big enough and they are not as heavy as lenses of the same size would be. So I would go with mirrors, and at least 12 cm (5 inch) in diameter. The bigger, the better, of course. For example Celestron has some great machines! 

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