Basic Telescope Types

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 14,015
    Don Pensak of Scope City shows the different kinds of telescopes and what they are used for.

    Don Pensack: Hi! This is Don Pensack of Scope City, and today, we are talking about how to select and use a telescope. Our next topic of conversation is all about basic telescope types. And there are three discrete and distinct basic telescope types as you see around me.

    Number one, is the reflector - the reflector has a mirror at the bottom, a second mirror at the top, and then reflects its light out of the side. The eyepiece is at the top. This type of telescope gives you the largest telescope for the dollar and also puts the eyepiece in a very convenient height for adults.

    Typically, physically larger this might be a little bit difficult for children, but makes an excellent telescope for adults. Then there is the refractor. The refractor is the type of telescope that you typically think of when you think telescope in your mind. It has a lens at the front. The light comes through the lens, goes down the telescope to the bottom where it's focussed at the bottom. When this telescope points up, the eyepiece is at the bottom. This is an ideal telescope where you have children involved.

    Then there is a third basic type of telescope, which we refer to you by the fancy word 'catadioptric'. Catadioptric just refers to a compound telescope combining lenses and mirrors. With this, here is an example right here; the telescope is very compact, very light in weight, very easy to use. This type of telescope is probably the most popular in the marketplace today.

    Among these three types, is also a secondary category called computerized versus non-computerized. A telescope can be on a mount that is driven and tracks the turning of the earth, but yet still can't find objects in the sky. This would be what we refer to as a manual mount.

    Then there is the computerized mount - the computerized mount knows exactly where it's pointed to. It has an onboard object memory that enables it to locate thousands of objects in the night sky and typically a hand controller as you see here that allows you to point the telescope anywhere in the sky with a simple click of buttons.

    These three types of telescope all come in either non-computerized or computerized versions. The next thing we will be talking about is how to choose your scope.