List of telescope types

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All Four VLT Unit Telescopes Working as One

Astronomical telescopes are divided into subgroups. All telescopes work by collecting electromagnetic radiation and focussing it into an image which may be seen or photographed. The purpose is to see things which are far away in the universe.

The traditional types all work to collect visible light from the sky. Recent types may work outside the visible spectrum. They all have their different advantages and disadvantages and they are used in different areas of astronomy.

Optical[change | change source]

Large refractor
Small reflector on altazimuth mount
Catadioptric telescope on fork mount

Refractors[change | change source]

Dioptrics. Telescopes which create their image with an objective that is a convex lens (refractors) are said to be "dioptric" telescopes.

Reflectors[change | change source]

Catoptrics. Optical systems using mirrors: uses reflected light to form the image.

Combined Lens-Mirror Systems[change | change source]

Catadioptric telescopes use corrector lenses to fix problems in a reflector.

Outside the optical spectrum[change | change source]