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Difference between Reflecting and Refracting Telescopes

Difference between Reflecting and Refracting Telescopes

A reflector telescope bounces light off of a mirror to the eyepiece, while a refractor telescope bends light through an objective lens. Reflecting telescopes are less expensive and easier to manufacture, but they are not as good at gathering light as refractors. Refracting telescopes are more expensive and difficult to manufacture, but they gather more light than reflecting telescopes. For this reason, most professional astronomers use refracting telescopes. Amateur astronomers, on the other hand, generally prefer reflecting telescopes because they are less expensive.

What is a Reflecting Telescope?

Reflecting telescopes are one of the most popular types of telescope on the market. Reflecting telescopes use a curved mirror to gather and focus light from distant objects, providing clear and accurate images. One of the main advantages of Reflecting Telescopes is that they can be made much larger than other types of telescope, allowing them to gather more light and provide better images. Reflecting telescopes are also relatively simple to make, and they can be quite affordable compared to other types of telescope. As a result, Reflecting Telescopes are a great option for amateur astronomers and anyone who wants to get started in observing the night sky.

What is Refracting Telescope?

A Refracting Telescope is an instrument that uses a lens to collect and focus light from distant objects. The first Refracting Telescope was built in the early 1600s by Dutch eyeglass maker Hans Lippershey. Refracting Telescopes are also called refractors.

  • Refractors come in a variety of sizes, from simple hand-held models to large research telescopes. Most Refracting Telescopes have an adjustable tube that allows the user to change the telescope’s magnification or power. The lens at the front of the telescope is called the objective lens.
  • The eyepiece, which is located at the back of the telescope, magnifies the image produced by the objective lens. Refracting Telescopes produce an upside-down image, so many models include a diagonal mirror that reflects the light path 90 degrees.
  • This type of telescope is well suited for astronomical observing because refractors do not produce the “sparkling” effects seen in some reflecting telescopes. Refracting Telescopes are also used for terrestrial (land) viewing. Binoculars are a type of Refracting Telescope.
  • MostRefracting Telescopes use a glass lens, but a few use a plastic lens. Glass lenses are heavier than plastic lenses and require more precise alignment in order to function properly.

Glass lenses are also more expensive than plastic lenses. Refracting Telescopes are available for purchase through scientific supply companies and retail stores that sell optical equipment. Prices range from less than $50 for a small handheld model to several thousand dollars for a large research telescope. Refractor Telescope kits are also available, which allow amateur astronomers to build their own telescopes.

Difference between Reflecting and Refracting Telescopes

Reflecting and refracting telescopes both have their own unique set of pros and cons that make them better or worse for different situations. Reflecting telescopes, also known as reflectors, use a combination of mirrors to gather and focus light. Reflecting telescopes are usually smaller and lighter than refracting telescopes, making them easier to transport. They also don’t suffer from chromatic aberration, which is an issue with refractors.

However, reflectors can be more difficult to align, and their mirrors can collect dust and dirt more easily than lenses. Refracting telescopes, on the other hand, use a series of lenses to gather and focus light. Refractors tend to be larger and heavier than reflectors, but they’re easier to set up and maintain. They’re also less likely to suffer from image distortion. Ultimately, the best type of telescope for you depends on your needs and preferences.


Telescopes come in two main varieties-reflecting and refracting. The difference between the two is how light travels through the telescope. In a reflecting telescope, the light bounces off of a mirror at the end of the tube and into the eyepiece. A refracting telescope has a lens at one end of the tube that bends the light to travel through the entire length of the telescope before hitting an eyepiece.

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