For centuries humans have looked up at the sun, the moon and the stars, but we could only see what our eyes allowed us to see. However during the early 17th Century the physicist Galileo improved and pointed one of the first telescope towards the sky which signaled a new era of astronomy (Dunbar, 1). The purpose of the telescope like any other optical device, is to produce outgoing parallel rays of light that are then focused on the retina by the relaxed eye (Falk, 168). During the early 17th century the physicist Galileo Galilei took the two-powered spyglass, which was used by the army to spot distant objects, and increased its magnification to the point where he could see the moons craters. This paper will explore types of telescopes, understand how they work, and will comprehend their uses and limitations.
Telescopes can be categorized into the three core categories, refracting, reflecting and catadioptric. In most scopes the objective lens is the optical component which gathers light from the observed object and focuses the light rays to produce a real image. The eyepiece is the part which the human eye looks through, and is used to gather more light. The most important attribute of any telescope is its aperture, which ultimately determines how sharp and bright the images are. Galileo used a refracting telescope to view the moon and stars back in the 1600s. The refracting telescope consists of an objective lens and an eyepiece (Falk, 169). On the refracting telescope the big convex lens between the object and the telescope is the objective lens. It gathers and bends the light into a bright focal point at which point the eyepiece brings this real image into focus all inside a long thin tube, although it is inverted. To fix the inverted image problem, the Galilean telescope offers the same design as the refracting telescope, but the eyepiece is a negative concave lens which flips the image giving us an upright image.