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Real Astronomy With Small Telescopes: Step-by-S...

The history of the telescope can be traced to before the invention of the earliest known telescope, which appeared in 1608 in the Netherlands, when a patent was submitted by Hans Lippershey, an eyeglass maker. Although Lippershey did not receive his patent, news of the invention soon spread across Europe. The design of these early refracting telescopes consisted of a convex objective lens and a concave eyepiece. Galileo improved on this design the following year and applied it to astronomy. In 1611, Johannes Kepler described how a far more useful telescope could be made with a convex objective lens and a convex eyepiece lens. By 1655, astronomers such as Christiaan Huygens were building powerful but unwieldy Keplerian telescopes with compound eyepieces.[1]

Real Astronomy with Small Telescopes: Step-by-S...

Isaac Newton is credited with building the first reflector in 1668 with a design that incorporated a small flat diagonal mirror to reflect the light to an eyepiece mounted on the side of the telescope. Laurent Cassegrain in 1672 described the design of a reflector with a small convex secondary mirror to reflect light through a central hole in the main mirror.

The era of radio telescopes (along with radio astronomy) was born with Karl Guthe Jansky's serendipitous discovery of an astronomical radio source in 1931. Many types of telescopes were developed in the 20th century for a wide range of wavelengths from radio to gamma-rays. The development of space observatories after 1960 allowed accessto several bands impossible to observe from the ground, including X-rays and longer wavelength infrared bands.

The sharpness of the image in Kepler's telescope was limited by the chromatic aberration introduced by the non-uniform refractive properties of the objective lens. The only way to overcome this limitation at high magnifying powers was to create objectives with very long focal lengths. Giovanni Cassini discovered Saturn's fifth satellite (Rhea) in 1672 with a telescope 35 feet (11 m) long. Astronomers such as Johannes Hevelius were constructing telescopes with focal lengths as long as 150 feet (46 m). Besides having really long tubes these telescopes needed scaffolding or long masts and cranes to hold them up. Their value as research tools was minimal since the telescope's frame "tube" flexed and vibrated in the slightest breeze and sometimes collapsed altogether.[45][46]

In 1636 Marin Mersenne proposed a telescope consisting of a paraboloidal primary mirror and a paraboloidal secondary mirror bouncing the image through a hole in the primary, solving the problem of viewing the image.[53] James Gregory went into further detail in his book Optica Promota (1663), pointing out that a reflecting telescope with a mirror that was shaped like the part of a conic section, would correct spherical aberration as well as the chromatic aberration seen in refractors. The design he came up with bears his name: the "Gregorian telescope"; but according to his own confession, Gregory had no practical skill and he could find no optician capable of realizing his ideas and after some fruitless attempts, was obliged to abandon all hope of bringing his telescope into practical use.

Adaptive optics uses a similar principle, but applying corrections several hundred times per second tocompensate the effects of rapidly changing optical distortion due to the motion of turbulence in the Earth's atmosphere. Adaptive optics works by measuring the distortions in a wavefront and then compensating for them by rapid changes of actuators applied to a small deformable mirror or with a liquid crystal array filter. AO was first envisioned by Horace W. Babcock in 1953, but did not come into common usage in astronomical telescopes until advances in computer and detector technology during the 1990s made it possible to calculate the compensation needed in real time.[71] In adaptive optics, the high-speed corrections needed mean that a fairly bright star is needed very close to the target of interest (or an artificial star is created by a laser). Also, with a single star or laser the corrections are only effective over a very narrow field (tens of arcsec), and current systems operating on several 8-10m telescopes work mainly in near-infrared wavelengths for single-object observations.

The twentieth century saw the construction of telescopes which could produce images using wavelengths other than visible light starting in 1931 when Karl Jansky discovered astronomical objects gave off radio emissions; this prompted a new era of observational astronomy after World War II, with telescopes being developed for other parts of the electromagnetic spectrum from radio to gamma-rays.

Radio astronomy began in 1931 when Karl Jansky discovered that the Milky Way was a source of radio emission while doing research on terrestrial static with a direction antenna. Building on Jansky's work, Grote Reber built a more sophisticated purpose-built radio telescope in 1937, with a 31.4-foot (9.6 m) dish; using this, he discovered various unexplained radio sources in the sky. Interest in radio astronomy grew after the Second World War when much larger dishes were built including: the 250-foot (76 m) Jodrell bank telescope (1957), the 300-foot (91 m) Green Bank Telescope (1962), and the 100-metre (330 ft) Effelsberg telescope (1971). The huge 1,000-foot (300 m) Arecibo telescope (1963) was so large that it was fixed into a natural depression in the ground; the central antenna could be steered to allow the telescope to study objects up to twenty degrees from the zenith. However, not every radio telescope is of the dish type. For example, the Mills Cross Telescope (1954) was an early example of an array which used two perpendicular lines of antennae 1,500 feet (460 m) in length to survey the sky.

Gamma rays are absorbed high in the Earth's atmosphere so most gamma-ray astronomy is conducted with satellites. Gamma-ray telescopes use scintillation counters, spark chambers and more recently, solid-state detectors. The angular resolution of these devices is typically very poor. There were balloon-borne experiments in the early 1960s, but gamma-ray astronomy really began with the launch of the OSO 3 satellite in 1967; the first dedicated gamma-ray satellites were SAS B (1972) and Cos B (1975). The Compton Gamma Ray Observatory (1991) was a big improvement on previous surveys. Very high-energy gamma-rays (above 200 GeV) can be detected from the ground via the Cerenkov radiation produced by the passage of the gamma-rays in the Earth's atmosphere. Several Cerenkov imaging telescopes have been built around the world including: the HEGRA (1987), STACEE (2001), HESS (2003), and MAGIC (2004).

During the observations we made in our Celestron Inspire 100AZ review, we noticed a small amount of false color (purple color fringing), and a slight blurring in the field of view was noticeable. The latter is easily resolved with a careful selection of eyepieces, so we recommend investing in additional eyepieces to make the most of the Inspire 100AZ's optical system and to ensure that it translates into the quality of your photos, if you're taking them False color, on the other hand, is to be expected in telescopes at this price point but it doesn't ruin the experience unless you're exceptionally particular about color accuracy.

The first of three of the NexStar telescopes on this list, and for a good reason. The Celestron NexStar 8SE is an excellent option for beginners and seasoned skywatchers. This telescope makes it easy for novices to view the night sky without knowing much about astronomy. At the same time, more experienced stargazers can use it to explore deeper into space or even attach a camera for impressive astrophotography.

The Vespera is an impressive device that combines three technologies: star pattern recognition software, image live stacking technology, and an app. When switched on, its Sony IMX462 image sensor can detect a target in five minutes and take one photograph every 10 seconds (this varies depending on the target). This noise-canceling process can be seen in real-time on the Singularity app, resulting in a clearer, more contrasty and colorful image. We in our Vaonis Vespera review we found that the images were a little soft, but they could be enhanced with post-processing.

The eVscope 2, a telescope designed with great finesse, is ideal for photographers who are new to astronomy and have a considerable amount of money (about $5000 (opens in new tab)) to spare or for astronomers who desire an all-in-one system that is effortless to set up and use. Even though it may not be greatly appreciated by experienced telescope users accustomed to a more traditional viewing method, it can still create remarkable images.

It's also well built and easy to use, a huge plus for those without bags of astronomy experience. However, you can get alternatives for a lower price, even if they don't quite match the Skyline 6" for quality of specs. We also like the Orion AstroView 90 (opens in new tab) a lot, for which this is a suitable replacement, however, it's hard to find it in stock online.

On the downside, the Newtonian doesn't come hassle-free, especially regarding maintenance. You might find yourself having to have optical mirrors realigned as well as the mirror's surfaces repainted since they can eventually become tarnished. If you choose to go for a reflector of this sort, you should always choose one with mirrors with a protective coating as they will last longer.

In addition, we spoke with Margaret McCrea, president of Rose City Astronomers of Portland, Oregon, a nonprofit group that supports the public in pursuit of education and interests in astronomy. We also spoke with Greg Jones, another member of that organization and president of Eclipse Technologies.

All of the telescopes we tested come with a 20mm or 25mm eyepiece. Most of the models we tried also come with a 10mm eyepiece. It may seem counterintuitive, but the 10mm eyepiece offers more magnification, producing an enlarged image and a smaller field of view. 041b061a72


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