The refracting telescope (also called a refractor) is a special type of telescope that is characterized by it'a long, straight tubular body. It is uses a large lens at one end of the tube to capture light from the image being viewed, while the viewer is positioned at the opposite end with an smaller lens (eyepiece).
Although the exact inventor of the refracting telescope is not known, Hans Lippershey is generally credited with the creation of the telescope due to the fact that he was the first person known to have documented a written record of the device as part of a patent that he filed in the year 1608.
Throughout history there have been many famous astronomers and scientists that have made significant contributions to astronomy thanks in part to the functionality of the refracting telescope.
Design And How Does It Work
The design of a refracting telescope is constructed from a tubular body, placement of a main objective lens at one end tube and a small eyepiece lens at the opposite end. The viewer uses the telescope by aiming it with the objective lens closest to the object. The viewer then peers through the eyepiece lens as the captured images directly through the tubular body.
The refracting telescope does not contain any mirrors, but instead bends the light rays from the image along the length of the tubular body such that the focal points of the lenses coordinate to produce a magnified image.
The magnification of the object being viewed is accomplished via a relationship between the objective and eyepiece lenses. A refractor's magnification may be calculated by dividing the focal length of the objective lens by that of the eyepiece. For a more detailed explanation and examples of magnification calculations, be sure to read our other article on calculating the maximum useable magnification of a telescope.
A refracting telescope is a great tool for anyone wishing to view the sky, planets, and stars above. Many people enjoying owning and using a refracting telescope because it's sturdy construction is resistant to misalignment, and they generally require relatively simple maintenance.
Be sure to check out our comprehensive Telescope 101 Guide for more information about all aspects of telescopes, including history, construction, components, plus care and maintenance tips.