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Telescopes for Viewing Objects in Space

  • Published: 2009-02-03 (Revised/Updated 2017-12-24) : Author: Koz Huseyin
  • Synopsis: Information on telescopes including refracting and reflecting telescopes and objects to see in space.

Main Document

Since the dawn of time, man has looked up at the heavens and wondered the beauty it may contain. Over the last few hundred years, the telescope has been an instrument which has allowed the heavens to come into our doorstep.

A telescope is an instrument that makes it possible to look at stars and the planets from the comfort of your own home. Telescopes are the biggest part of astronomy. As a scientific instrument, telescopes work by gathering light. You see, your eyes can only gather so much light. A telescope works by gathering more light, and focusing it in such a way, that you can see a much bigger image!

A telescope is one item which you can not become bored of. If you looked at 100 new space object a day, since the day you was born, in all your life, you would not have even come close to scratching the possibilities. A telescope also gives you the ability to learn and see something new every day.

Telescopes provide an expanded view:

Each object you look at out of a solar system is one in which the light you are seeing is what happened sometimes millions of years ago! A telescope is truly an amazing instrument, which is the exact opposite of a microscope. A telescope allows the universe to come to you, in other words objects of long distance come closer, while a microscope puts small objects to become bigger so you can see.

Choosing a telescope is not an easy choice to make and is one that really needs research. Take time in choosing a telescope, as most department store telescopes just do not fit the bill. Telescopes from department stores are ones which try to sell themselves on magnification. Magnification is not the best way of choosing a telescope, as a clear image is more important then simply magnification. If you want to buy a telescope which truly brings the universe to life, go to a specialist place that sells telescopes, and who know and love astronomy.

There are many different telescopes for sale. These different telescopes, however, fall into mainly 2 categories. The first is refracting telescopes, which is the one that reminds us most of Galileo's telescope. The other is reflecting telescopes, which is commonly attributed with Isaac Newton.

Both refracting telescopes and reflecting telescopes have benefits, advantages and disadvantages. The key element here is that your needs are the main focus, and as you read this article, you will discover which type of telescope is best for your needs in backyard astronomy.

Information About Refracting Telescopes:

The design of the refracting telescope is also the type you find on binoculars, though in pairs! How a refracting telescope works, is that there is a lens at the front of the optical tube assembly.

Light enters the optical tube assembly, and goes right to the lenses at the back of the telescope. And finally meets the eye, where an image of Saturn, perhaps can be seen.

A refracting telescope is good, in that it is enclosed. The simple design, allows it to be maintenance free, for a number of years. The simple design also makes it easy to use, which is great as a telescope for children.

Information About Reflecting Telescopes:

How reflecting telescopes work, is that light enters the optical tube assembly, and goes straight to the back of the telescope, where it meets a big mirror. This mirror then reflects the light back up the tube.

Now, the light meets a secondary mirror, which is near to the top of the telescope. As the light bounces, it enters the lenses, and finally meets the eye.

Reflector telescopes are great in that they offer good price verses performance ratio. Reflecting telescopes can be much larger than refracting telescopes.

Refracting Telescopes Compared With Reflecting Telescopes

Realize however, that the refracting telescopes are not cheap. Compared with reflecting telescopes they can be more expensive for similar performance.

For viewing the planets, buying a refracting telescope may be the best way to go, however, if you desire to see more of the heavens, there is nothing that compares, as with a reflecting telescopes. Though you may be able to get similar performance with refracting telescopes, you would need to invest a much bigger investment, which brings back the question.

Things to See with a Telescope:

Some of the greatest things you can see with a telescope are the moon and its craters. Looking at the moon on occasion with a telescope looks like snow has dropped on the surface of the moon. You can see so much detail in the craters, one which you can not see by plainly looking at the moon with the naked eye.

Saturn a planet which Galileo once said was a planet with ears! Saturn can be seen with its ring. Looking at Saturn over time, you can see it in different angles. You can see the moons of Saturn and the amazement is great.

The red planet of Mars is a fascinating object when viewed through a backyard telescope.

Jupiter is a planet which really looks amazing. You can see the eye storm on Jupiter and also Jupiter's moons surrounding Jupiter. As you look at Jupiter over time, you can see the moons in different angles and as same as Jupiter revolving.

Pleiades, also called the Seven Sisters is a great view. When you take a look at the Seven Sisters with the naked eye, you may see seven stars in this group, however, with a telescope, much more can be seen. A sea of stars grouped together is what you can see with a telescope or a good set of binoculars.

The Messiah catalog was created to discern what comets are and what is not. The Messiah objects are one of the greatest list to work through. They number a number of deep space objects, like nebula and galaxies.

There is so much to see with a telescope, and one which really brings the universe to your doorstep. Granted viewing pictures of space objects on NASA's website and other places online can show you great detail and color, but there is nothing like navigating the heavens to find and see objects which most people will have never experienced with the naked eye.

Useful Astronomy Items:

Star atlas:

A star atlas is a map. And to go anywhere you need a map. The heavens are too big, to simply point and hope! It requires knowing some things, where things are, etc. And a star atlas allows you to find where they are in the heavens. Though a star atlas is not absolutely essential, I have to say, that without it, finding objects is so much more difficult. One way or another you need some form of a star atlas, though this can always be conducted with certain astronomy software, and even on some websites.

Practical astronomy book:

When I got started in astronomy, I purchased my first proper telescope, and didn't invest in a good practical astronomy book. Now I highly recommend books such as Turn Left At Orion. It is recommended by all astronomers, and is a great way to learn how to use telescopes to navigate the heavens.


I strongly suggest getting a notebook just for your astronomy findings. This can be a great place to draw what you find through your telescope, and also any other information about astronomy. The result is that you can look back and see Jupiter's changes, Saturn's inclination, etc.

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