On a clear night with a bright full moon, no one could blame you for wanting to make a living out of gazing into the sky at planets and the odd shooting star.
But how easy is it to make a career out of stargazing? And do you really need complicated equipment like astronomical telescopes?
There are several skills and personality traits that a professional astronomer needs. The first is – perhaps obviously – excellent observational skills. The second is a meticulous eye for detail, in order to correctly and methodically record all date and observations. An analytical mind to help understand results and formulate theories is a must, and so is an aptitude for solitude. Being able to stay up late probably wouldn’t go amiss either!
Early study in the sciences, English and mathematics will provide a good intellectual grounding for the work involved in being an astronomer, while further study in astronomy (especially at research level) should help with getting that dream job.
Experience of visiting planetariums, observatories and museums will also help you learn about the nature of astronomy, while proving your commitment to potential employers.
Finally, it may be painful to accept but an expensive, potentially delicate piece of equipment such as astronomical telescopes are a vital tool for any serious astronomers. Those clear starlit nights may be few and far between, making your astronomical telescopes completely essential.
Astronomical scopes are your key to making a career out of astronomy if that is where you are aiming for. If you are only looking to experience astronomy as a hobby, then astronomical telescopes will be the key to your enjoyment.
If you are looking for astronomical telescopes for the first time, the chances are that you or the person you are buying it for will be relatively new to stargazing and are likely to be overwhelmed by the amount of equipment on offer.
Luckily for you, we’ve done all the hard work for you so buying astronomical telescopes can be less daunting. Read on to discover about the three main types of astronomical telescopes available today.
The refractor is the first type and takes its name from the long tubular piece of the telescope. They have their pros and cons. A refractor has the benefit of protecting delicate optics and is therefore a good bet for those who don’t want to have to be too careful about their equipment – kids for example. However, they can be bulky, may require a tripod, and are invariably more expensive.
If a refractor doesn’t sound like much for the money, then perhaps a reflector would suit you better. Using mirrors, reflectors provide great visibility but do need regular TLC in terms of being kept clean and adjustment.
Catadioptrics are the third possible option and are seen as an ‘in between’ to refractors and reflectors. They are compact and lighter, making them easier to handle.
Buying astronomical scopes doesn’t end with choosing which type to go for. You will also need to consider size of the aperture (the lens or mirror which defines the clarity of your vision through the telescope), telescope mounts and finders.
If you are just starting out, choose sensibly: go for quality and ask lots of questions. Happy stargazing!
According to the Cambridge dictionary, a telescope is described as “a cylindrical device for making objects that are far away look nearer and larger, using a combination of lenses, or lenses and curved mirrors”.
Neat as this description may be, there are distinct types of telescopes within this which we shall examine here.
Optical telescopes collect and focus light mainly from the visible part of the electromagnetic spectrum. Using one or several optical elements such as glass, lenses or mirrors, they also gather light to affect the size and brightness of distant objects.
Instruments found in this group include theodolites, spotting scopes, monocular, binoculars, camera lenses and spyglasses. Particular telescopes found in astronomy are refracting, reflecting or catadioptric; and infrared, submillimetre and ultraviolet.
As if that wasn’t enough, telescopes can also be used to measure and observe things not discernable to the eye – for example, naturally occurring radio emissions and microwave radiation from stars, galaxies and other astronomical objects. These telescopes are called radio telescopes and are built with dishes made from conductive wire mesh to collect information.
Radio telescopes are also used to search for evidence of extraterrestrial life.
High-energy telescopes make up the final group of telescopes, and they are (unsurprisingly) used in high-energy astronomy. Objects studied in this group are those which emit EM radiation of highly energetic wavelengths: black holes, neutron stars, active galactic nuclei and supernovae. Some high-energy telescopes use mirrors while some do not focus at all and use coded aperture masks, while others still have no image-forming optical system.