Learn About Different Telescope Parts

For centuries people have marveled at the constellations in the night sky. What wondrous things could be out there in the vast reaches of space? Well that question had no answer until one ingenious piece of technology was invented. That's right - the telescope! It has the capacity to view objects from long distances away, at different magnifications and brightnesses. So how does a telescope work? And what are the different parts of a telescope?

Telescope Parts

The are many different parts that make up the telescope and they are in some way slightly similar to the makeup of binoculars.

The first part of a telescope is the optical tube assembly (OTA). The OTA is in fact the main tube assembly which is made up of several different parts. In refractors (lens-based telescopes) the front of the OTA houses the objective, the front lens of the telescope. In reflectors (mirror-based telscopes), the front of the OTA houses the secondary mirror (which reflects the image down to the eyepiece).

The back of the OTA holds the secondary lens (for refractors) or the primary mirror (for reflectors) as well as the components that the focuser and eyepiece.

The eyepiece is the section that a person looks through and depending on the type of telescope, some may have extra individual lenses located inside.

The next part of a telescope is the focuser which enables the viewer to change his or her focus to help create a cleaner view of the object they are targeting.

The finder is one of the most important parts of a telescope as it enables the user to track down objects in space. Without the finder it would make it almost impossible to find objects that are long distances away. It is attached to the side of the main telescope.

A Barlow lens is an extra lens that can be placed between the focuser and the eyepiece. It effectively increases the focal length of the telescope, therefore increasing the magnification of a telescope (usually 2x but can go up to 5x).

The mount is the part of a telescope that holds the telescope in place. There are two types of mount the alt-azimuth and the equatorial. There are other types of mounts but they are generally used for larger, advanced telescopes that aren't available in retail stores.

The tripod is the last part of a telescope and comes in lots of different sizes and varieties. They are made up of 3 legs that are used to hold the telescope up to a height where people can stand to use it. Most telescopes you buy come with a tripod but if yours didn't then you can generally get one pretty cheap from most optical stores.




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