Buying the right telescope to take your love of astronomy to the next level is a big next step in the development of your passion for the stars. In many ways, it is a big step from someone who is just fooling around with astronomy to a serious student of the science. But you and I both know that there is still another big step after buying a telescope before you really know how to use it. So it is critically important that you get just the right telescope for where you are and what your star gazing preferences are. To start with, let’s discuss the three major kinds of telescopes and then lay down some “Telescope 101” concepts to increase your chances that you will buy the right thing. The three primary types of telescopes that the amateur astronomer might buy are the Refractor, the Reflector and the Schmidt Cassegrain telescope.
The first two are named for the kind of lens that is used. It is pretty easy to see that the lens is the heart of the telescope so the kind that you will use will determine the success of your use of that telescope. The refractor lens is the simplest because it uses a convex lens to focus the light on the eyepiece. So the lens bends outwards for this purpose. The refractor telescope’s strength is in viewing planets.
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