Astronomical telescopes have been used since the beginning of the seventeenth century. Made for investigating the night’s sky, these scopes have come a long way since their beginnings, and there are now massive scopes as well as advanced and beginner scopes for the avid home user.
The most basic astronomical telescopes are optical scopes. These take in light and focus the image through a variety of means to give a greater detail of the sky for the user. These come in three varieties, all of which can be found in models intended for the hobbyist. The most common is a refracting scope, which uses a series of lenses to enhance the view of the user. A reflecting telescope, instead uses a series of mirrors to produce an image. A catadioptric scope uses a combination of the two methods to create an image in a very compact body. Each of these models can be found in very massive scopes used for scientist and in smaller models for home use. For the hobbyist, these scopes can be found with a variety of bases and stands that help assist in tracking objects in the night sky. Most common is a standard base that lets you turn the scope vertical and horizontally to find objects in the sky. An alternative is a Newtonian base, which arcs the scope so that it follows the curvature of the Earth. This allows a user to track objects throughout the night (planets, for example) without having to find them multiple times.
Outside of the optical astronomical telescopes are more complex scopes like radio and high energy particle telescopes, which are used by advanced scientific organizations like NASA and others.
Today’s telescope accessories enhance the performance of telescopes.
Telescope parts enable you to build your own scope.