For several obvious reasons, reflecting telescopes are a preferred choice than refracting telescopes for personal use. However before you completely make up your mind on buying a reflector, take a look into the advantages and disadvantages of the same, discussed throughout the article.
What is a Reflecting Telescope?
Also known as reflectors, these telescopes function on the principle of gathering light by a mirror located at the rear end of its optical tube. Major types of reflecting telescopes include:
- Newtonian Reflector
This was first designed by Sir Isaac Newton, and consists of a large mirror at the end of the optical tube. This mirror focuses image on another flat mirror which sends this image to the eyepiece for magnifying.
- Dobsonian Reflector
This works in a similar manner as the Newtonian, but has certain characteristics associated with it. A Dobsonian has an AZ mount, thinner and more expensive mirrors than a Newtonian, and consists of Sonotubes, in contrast to the bulky aluminium tubes used in Newtonian.
- Cassegrain Reflector
A Cassegrain reflecting telescope consists of a primary mirror at the end of the OTA, and a convex secondary mirror at the top of the tube. Light is reflected by the primary mirror to the secondary and the image is sent back to the eyepiece. This is a little expensive.
Pros of Reflecting Telescopes
- The use of mirrors
Since mirrors are used in a reflector, it does not suffer from aberrations unlike lenses. Mirrors also reflect lights of all wavelengths equally and do not have any occlusions.
- Compact design
The design of reflecting telescopes is not only simplified, but also results in compact bodies when compared to refracting telescopes. For each increase in aperture, there is more magnifying power and in a compact body. This also enables portability in many models of reflectors.
- Great for deep sky viewing
Reflecting telescopes are great for viewing deep sky objects like galaxies. If your target is watching faint objects deep in the night sky, any reflecting telescope should be your ideal pick. You can also use reflectors for astrophotography. Pick the best astrophotography telescope by doing some research on the internet. There are various review sites that can help you choose the best.
- Value for money
Reflectors are cheaper than refractors of the same size or aperture. This is because the light is reflecting off the objective rather than passing through it. Thus only one side of the reflector telescope’s objective needs to be perfect, giving more magnifying power in more compact design.
Cons of Reflecting Telescopes
- High on maintenance
While the design of a reflector is convenient for some reason, it is also inconvenient when it comes to maintenance. The tube and the optical pieces need regular cleaning else they tend to gather dust. Moreover the coating of reflecting surfaces needs to be replaced in regular intervals.
- Need realignment
Reflectors also need to be realigned every time before use and after cleaning. This is a major disadvantage.