The two most common telescopes that you want to compare are the refractor and reflector telescopes. The difference is easily noticeable, refractor telescopes use glass lenses that are similar to eye glasses and reflector telescopes use mirrors, like when you see your reflection in mirrors. This is a simple way to tell them apart.
The refractor telescopes are skinny and long, similar to a tube left behind when the paper towel roll is empty. Reflector telescopes are generally short and wide like cans for any kind of canned food. Also, the eye piece is most always on the back of refractor telescope and in the middle to the front of reflector telescopes. You may be wondering why there are different types, it is because the purpose of the telescope often varies.
Refractor lenses do not focus all the colors at the same point but mirrors do. The visible light that you can see with your eyes spans a narrow allowance of light out there and light should be thought of in terms of wavelength. This has to do with lenses because when you slice an image into its colors before focusing the images, you can find that when red is in focus blue will also be out of focus. Blue and red are the some of the different types of light. When the blue is focused, the red will the come out of focus. This problem only comes about in refractor telescopes.
The reflector telescope provides a much sharper image because the microwave is just as in focus as the x-ray, this gives it its sharper image when you use it to look at a wide range of colors. Refracting telescopes have many advantages such as the inside of the tube is sealed at both ends, therefore, it will not allow any dirt to enter. And because both ends are sealed, air will not move around inside the tube either. This gives it a sharper and steadier image. But they are longer and unwieldy, more so than reflecting telescopes which makes them vulnerable to chromatic aberration, a rainbow of colors appearing around the image.
Reflecting telescopes have their advantages as well. They have a mirror that can be put onto a metal place and are much larger than refractors. Reflecting telescopes are cheaper to make and are not vulnerable to chromatic aberration. It also has a variation that includes a thin lens that is placed on the front of the telescopes tube, which provides a wider range of view.
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