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There are three major designs of telescopes: refractor, reflector, and Schmidt-Cassegrain.
Refractors, with their long, thin tubes, are what most people think of as telescopes. They offer simplicity of design, little or no maintenance; excellent lunar, planetary and binary star viewing; a sealed optical tube to reduce air currents; and a permanently mounted objective lens.
Reflectors usually use a concave parabolic mirror to collect and focus light onto a flat secondary mirror, which reflects it into the eyepiece. They offer freedom from most optical aberrations, and delivery of very bright images; are reasonably compact and portable to focal lengths of 1000mm; offer excellent performance in observing faint deep-sky objects; and have the lowest cost per square inch of aperture due to the use of mirrors rather than lenses.
Schmidt-Cassegrains use a combination of mirrors and lenses to fold the optics and form an image. Advantages of this design include offering high performance in almost all situations; having the best all-around multifunction telescope design; being useful for all types of photography; and being compact, portable and easy to use.Questions about telescopes? E-mail us