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Breakdown: The Different Types Of Telescopes

Breakdown: The Different Types Of Telescopes

Essentially, as a beginner - you will need to decide between three primary types of Telescopes. These are Reflectors, Refractors, and a hybrid of the two which is referred to as a Compound or Catadioptric Telescopes.

Reflector Telescopes

The Reflector Telescope was invented by English physicist and mathematician Sir Isaac Newton in 1668. He was a key leader in the Scientific Revolution of the 17th Century.

In order to form an image, light is reflected between a primary concave mirror and a flat secondary mirror. At Red Carpet Telescopes, we believe that Reflectors offer some of the best value for beginners, especially if you're on a budget.

It is worth noting that Reflector Optics will require re-alignment and cleaning. Additionally, this type of Telescope cannot be used for land viewing, as all objects will appear upside down.

Different variants of Reflector Telescopes include Newtonian Reflectors (or 'Newtonians'), and Dobsonian Reflectors (or 'Dobs'). 

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Refractor Telescopes

The Refractor is the earliest type of optical Telescope. They first appeared around 1620 in the Netherlands, Invented by lensmaker Hans Lippershey.

A refracting telescope is an optical Telescope that uses a lens system to produce high clarity images. The Optics have fixed alignment and low maintenance.

This type of Telescope can be used for land object viewing (or as it's otherwise known: 'terrestrial viewing'), as long as the Telescope comes equipped with an Erect Prism/Diagonal, which most Refractors do. However - if it does not, Erect Prisms/Diagonals can be purchased separately. 

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Catadioptric Telescopes

Catadioptric Telescopes are a hybrid optical Telescope that utilizes mirrors and lenses. Essentially, principles and elements of both Reflectors and Refractors are combined to form the Catadioptric Telescope.

Different variants of Catadioptric Telescopes include Maksetov-Cassegrains (Mak-Cass), Schmidt-Cassegrains (SCT) etc.

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If you're looking to purchase your first Telescope, check out our Blog post How To Choose Your First Telescope to learn more. 

If you have any questions regarding any of our products, please don't hesitate to reach out to us via email at, or give us a call during our posted business hours!

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