What is a Refracting Telescope?

In this post we’ll attempt to answer the question ‘What is a Refracting Telescope?’ without going into too much detail and confusing the beginner.

 In simple terms, a refractor telescope uses a glass lens at its end to gather light, and as it travels through the telescope, the light bends. The light then bounces off a small mirror into the eyepiece, where the viewer sees a larger, sharper image of the object they’re looking at. Another name for this type of scope is a “dioptric telescope.”

 “Refracting” literally means to bend, and the first models of telescope were refractors. When a wave of light passes through a lens and changes direction, this is known as refraction. Galileo and others who designed the original technology found this method to be the easiest to make. Although Galileo Galilei is the name always associated with early telescopes he wasn’t the first to invent one. He was in Venice in May 1609 when he heard of an invention by a Dutch spectacle maker from Middelburg called Hans Lippershey who had tried unsuccessfully to patent a refracting telescope. Galilei constructed his own version of this design based on Lippershey’s invention and has gone down in history as the inventor.

Scopes used on rifles and other guns are refractors, as well as the small telescopes you find at general department stores. This type of scope tends to be tiny, but it’s perfect for looking at the moon and planets within this solar system.

 The benefits of choosing a refractor over any other type of scope start with the placement of the lens. It’s sealed off, so you don’t have to worry about cleaning it often, if ever. Also, images seen through the telescope are sharper and steadier thanks to the tube being immune to changing temperatures and climates.

 There are very few large-scale refractors used for research because of the disadvantages these scopes carry with them. Few and far between, these drawbacks are the reason that most refractors are for commercial use and small observatories. The largest refractor telescope is at Yerkes Observatory, and measures in at 102 cm.

 Chromatic abberation is one of the most common downfalls; light wavelengths bend differently, and because of this, you may see a rainbow effect around the object you’re viewing through the lens. Refracting lenses don’t allow ultraviolet light through them at all, and the thickness of the lens determines the clarity of the other lights that pass through. Also, the glass lens itself will eventually dip thanks to its own weight because it can only be supported by its ends.

What is a Refracting Telescope

What is a Refracting Telescope – Prices

 Prices on these scopes vary, but considering the difficulties they present for makers of large scopes, the versions available to the public tend to be within a reasonable price range. For those looking to set up a scope in their backyard for clear nights, roughly $200-400 will get you a great quality starter scope. If you have more to spend, you can look into computerized telescopes, ones with tracking devices, larger lenses, or higher magnification rates. The prices depend on the maker and the technology.

 The beginner lenses generally measure 60mm, 80mm, 90mm, and offer very clear pictures regardless of their small size. Telescopes come with a tripod to set them on, usually with a rotating ball at the center for easy navigation. You can buy a finderscope, which is essentially a miniature telescope that sits on top of the main scope and helps you focus in on the object you’re viewing. It makes observing objects at a distance much easier, and much more accurate.

 Overall, if you’re looking to view the moon’s surface or planets when they are within range, a refractor telescope is a perfect purchase for you as a beginner.

Bestseller No. 1
Celestron 22403 Inspire 100AZ Refractor Smartphone Adapter Built-In Refracting Telescope - Blue
  • Easiest setup of any entry level scope. With the folding accessory tray, you just pop the tripod legs open, turn the lock knob and you’re ready to go
  • Bold new design - The main telescope lens cap comes with a fully integrated smartphone adapter built-in, perfect for the budding astrophotographer. The asymmetrical mount design offers light weight and incredible stability. Erect image optics enables a fully correct image for easy viewing day or night, terrestrial or astronomical.
  • Red LED flashlight - Stowed in the centre of the mount head, the flashlight can be used to gently illuminate the accessory tray or can be removed for use as a spotlight when needed
  • Focus micrometer - Allows quick return to a specific focus point for specific targets (bird nests, infinity focus, etc.)
  • Focal Length of Eyepiece 1 : 20mm. Focal Length of Eyepiece 2 : 10mm
SaleBestseller No. 2
Celestron 21073 AstroMaster LT 60AZ Refractor No-Tool Setup Refracting Telescope - Blue
  • Quick and easy no-tool setup. StarPointer finderscope for convenience. Quick release dovetail attachment.
  • Pan handle Alt-AZ control with clutch for smooth and accurate pointing. Rugged pre-assembled tripod with steel tube legs provides a rigid and stable platform. All coated glass optics for clear, crisp images.
  • ¬Deluxe accessory tray for convenient and accessible storage of accessories.
  • BONUS Astronomy Software download with a 10,000-object database, printable sky maps and 75 enhanced images.
SaleBestseller No. 3
Celestron 21074 AstroMaster LT 70AZ Refractor No-Tool Setup Refracting Telescope - Blue
  • Quick and easy no-tool setup. StarPointer finderscope for convenience. Quick release dovetail attachment.
  • Pan handle Alt-AZ control with clutch for smooth and accurate pointing. Rugged pre-assembled tripod with steel tube legs provides a rigid and stable platform. All coated glass optics for clear, crisp images.
  • Deluxe accessory tray for convenient and accessible storage of accessories.
  • BONUS Astronomy Software download with a 10,000-object database, printable sky maps and 75 enhanced images.

Last update on 2020-06-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API