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  Category: Articles » Education & Reference » Science » Article

Telescopes - Principle of operation and factors that affect its properties

By David Chandler

Telescopes are devices that are used to view the distant objects.
They find its use in astronomy and physics. It enables you to view
the distant objects by magnifying them. There are many types of
telescopes and their prices vary according to the specifications.
Many accessories are also available that can be used in
conjunction with the telescopes. Small telescopes that are used
as toys are also capable of viewing some objects around 50
meters away.

Principle in which the telescope works

The principle in which the telescope works is very simple. There
are two lenses that make up the task of viewing the objects that
are at a distance. One of the lenses picks up the light from the
object viewed and makes it available at a focus point. Another
lens picks up the bright light from the focus point and spreads it
out to your retina so that you can view. The lens that picks up the
light from the object is called the objective lens or primary mirror.
The lens that picks up the light from the focal point is called the
eyepiece lens.

Factors that affect the viewing of the object

The capability of the telescope to collect the light from the object
that is viewed and the capability to enlarge the image are the
factors that affect the efficiency of the telescope. The capability to
collect light from the object depends on the diameter of the lens or
mirror, which is otherwise called the aperture. The larger the
aperture the more the light it can collect. Enlarging of an image
depends on the combination of the lenses that are used. The
eyepiece in the telescope performs the magnification.

Some of the world's largest optical telescopes in operation

We say a telescope to be larger based on the aperture size.
Based on this we can say that Keck and Keck II are the largest
telescopes in operation with an aperture of 10 meters diameter.
The Keck telescope is composed of 36 mirror segments. This is
located at Mauna Kea, Hawaii. The next largest is Hobby-Eberly
located at Mt. Fowlkes, Texas which has an aperture of 9.2 meters.
You can get a list of the largest optical telescopes at

Choosing your telescope

The choice of the telescope largely depends on what you want to
observe. You can choose compound telescopes and refractor type
of telescope for viewing through the urban skies. For the rural
skies, you can use compound telescopes and reflectors. They are
better than the refractors type of telescopes. Each type has its
own advantages and disadvantages. Hence, many people have
different telescope for different purposes.

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