Maksutov Telescopes

There are 3 main types of telescopes and each one performs differently and may be used for different purposes. If you are thinking about buying a telescope to look at stars and deep space then you should know that this might not be possible if you live in a built up area with light pollution. If it is just the moon and the planets you want to look at then you should now that refractors are better than reflectors for this. If you are prepared to travel with your telescope then you should know which types are fragile and which ones give you the best performance from a smaller scope.

The three types of telescopes that exist for capturing light so that it may be magnified for viewing are Catadioptric, Newtonian Reflector and Refractor.

Refractor Telescope

The traditional long-tube looking telescope. The Refractor uses lenses to bend light and this causes the rays to meet at a point on the other end of the telescope. They are magnified by the eyepiece for viewing. There is a large lens on the front of the Refractor, which is the objective lens.

Pros

  • Requires little to no maintenance
  • Excellent for planetary viewing

Cons

  • Color deviation in achromatic designs
  • Not recommended for deep sky observation

Reflector Telescope

The Newtonian Reflector uses a primary mirror that is concave. This mirror sends light to a flat mirror which reflects the light out a side opening and to the eyepiece where it is magnified and focused.

Pros

  • Best for deep space observation - Great for looking at remote galaxies
  • Delivers very bright images

Cons

  • Requires regular alignment
  • Requires more complicated cleaning of mirrors than other types of the same design

Catadioptric Telescope

The last of the three
types of telescopes
and currently the most popular on the market. This type uses a series of lenses and mirrors that fold the light path and send it through to the primary mirror through a small hole. This allows the light to be magnified and focused for viewing. There are two types of Catadioptric telescopes - Schmidt-Cassegrain and Maksutov-Cassegrain.

The Maksutov type has a concave and convex correcting lens where the light enters. The light hits the primary mirror, is sent back to the secondary mirror and finally sent to the opening in the back of the telescope.

Pros

  • Portable and easy to use
  • Versatile - good for deep space and planetary observation
  • About the best for focusing
  • Excellent optics

Cons

  • It does not look like a telescope to many people
  • It is more costly than other Newtonians with the same size opening for light

Once you know what you want to look at and which of the types of telescope you should choose you need to think hard about how much you are prepared to carry around, telescopes can be bulky and your tripod and mount are essential bits of additional kit. Size determined, you are now ready to see just how much aperture you can get for your money. Don't concern yourself with magnification, it is not nearly as important as is touted and higher magnifications will cause images to be blurry because of air turbulence. The performance of a telescope depends on how much light gathering capability it has, the more light it can gather the better you will see, and this is aperture. As a general rule of thumb, once you know which of the types of telescopes is best for you, get the biggest aperture you can afford for your money.

Find out more about the different types of telescopes and get other 1st time buyer tips and advice at the site.

What type of telescope is best for CCD imaging?

With the need for a flat field of view (i.e. coma free), which type of telescope would you choose between an apochromatic refractor (e.g. Meade 5000 or Skywatcher Equinox) or a Maksutov Cassegrain (E.g Skywatcher Skymax Pro)

The refractor might be better because of the clear aperture, the reflector though has the larger aperture.

Typically, it seems that refractors give the 'best' results for planetary imaging whilst the biggest reflector you can get is what you need for DSO's (Deep Sky Objects)

If you are doing long exposure CCD then the mount (stability & tracking accuracy) is usually the limiting factor .. however if you 'stacking' (movie) frames, then light grasp (aperture) is usually the limiting factor (yes, CCD's will capture single pixels and stacking will 'average out' the noise, but there is something called the 'diffraction resolution limit' or Dawes' limit')

Even so, amazing results can be achieved with quite modest kit (even a 4" reflector you wouldn't give you kids to play with can be used to take amazing images)




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