How Do Telescopes Work

Telescopes make angles of far away objects seem sharper and brighter. There are different types of telescopes, including gigantic machines that put the little plastic one you might have in your backyard to shame. But all telescopes come in one of two options. There are refractor telescopes, which use glass lenses. Galileo’s telescope was a refractor scope. And there are reflector telescopes, which use mirrors instead of glass lenses. Clearly, a refractor telescope refracts the light, and a reflector telescope reflects the light. That’s the first part in understanding the question of how do telescopes work. The second part of understanding the question of how do telescopes work comes from understanding the difference between refraction and reflection.

Telescopes do two main things. First, they collect the light. You are able to see because light bounces off all objects and into your retina, which absorbs the light. A telescope makes it easier to gather all the light because there is a huge lens at the front, which is convex. It takes all the light and it forces it to focus.. The light is reflected down into the body of the telescope where it hits another mirror which is concave. A concave lens will make the light spread out, and a convex lens will force the light into a focal point. The light is spread across your retina by the concave lens. That is magnified and sent to your eye. Thus making the angles brighter and sharper, and allowing you to see things you could never see with the naked eye. All telescopes work with this basic principle, with the magnification affected by the size and number of glasses or mirrors.

Related Information

Refracting Telescopes
Refracting telescopes focus on a object by using lenses instead of mirrors to focus and collect light.

Galileo Telescopes
Galileo telescopes allow the user to see the continuously changing universe!

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