Telescopes were first used in the early 17th Century. They collect and magnify light from faint and distant objects, allowing us to look further into space than can be seen with the naked eye. The image produced can be viewed through an eye-piece or the light collected by a detector for analysis.
There are three main types of telescope. These are refracting telescopes, Newtonian telescopes and Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes:
Refracting telescopes use lenses to gather light and focus it to a point. The images produced are upright, making refractors very good for ground based observations. These telescopes give the best quality image, and are very good for photography. However, they are also very expensive for their size.
Newtonian telescopes are reflectors. Rather than a lens, they use a mirror to focus light from distant objects. They use a curved mirror to focus light onto a second flat mirror, from which the light is directed to the telescope eyepieces. Reflectors are the least expensive telescopes for their size and large reflectors are easier to build than refractors of the same size.
Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes use a series of mirrors to fold the light path giving them the distinct advantage of being much smaller than other types of telescope. Because of this, all professional telescopes, including the Faulkes telescopes, are now of the SCT design.
For more information and to view a comprehensive range of telescopes, telescope eyepieces, mounts and more, visit Sherwoods Photographic, a family owned company who specialise in telescopes and binoculars.