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7 Amazing Facts About Refractor Telescope

A refractor telescope can offer fantastic image sharpness and contrast. These units use lenses to produce a picture when a wave of light goes through them. The devices are light and easy to move, which amateurs and pros both appreciate.

This article lists amazing facts about these telescopes. You’ll discover impressive things about refraction and these devices. It could help you decide if they meet your preferences, so don’t hesitate to start reading!

7 Fantastic Reflector Telescope Facts

7 Fantastic Reflector Telescope Facts

You can trace this device’s history back to the 1500s. That means refractors have been around for five centuries, which is impressive. Here are more amazing facts about these telescopes!

1. Its Invention Occurred in the Netherlands

Zacharias Janssen was an eyeglass maker in Middelburg in the late 16th century. He held this business together with his son Hans. They used their spare time to work on designing a microscopic unit. Unfortunately, they didn’t find support in the community. That’s what happened with most innovations back then.

Janssens moved away from designing a microscope and focused on how to zoom in on distant objects. They used the same technique – implementing lenses in the device. That generated some controversies. The odds are, however, that this family created the first refracting telescope.

2. There Were Several Patent Claims for It

Hans Lippershey lived close to the Janssens in Middelburg. He recognized the potential of a telescope refractor, so he filed for the patent first. It was the Dutch Golden age, and everyone wanted to earn by inventing something new. Another citizen called Jacob Metius also said he constructed a refraction unit.

The government had a tricky task, so it decided not to take any sides. Instead, they refused all patent claims in 1608. The explanation was that the refraction telescope was simple to make. Today, the scientific community attributes this unit to Lippershey. It also notes that Janssens invented the microscope.

3. Galileo Galilei Was the First to Point It Toward the Sky

Galilei was already a famous scientist and engineer in 1609 in Italy. As a person open to innovations, he began thinking after hearing about Janssen’s work. This mathematician’s idea was to add a focus to the device. His creativity didn’t stop there. Once he constructed the unit, he pointed it toward the sky.

The Italian perfected the refraction telescope. He’s also the first one who used it to observe the universe. Galilei reported he noticed craters and mountains on the moon. He also said he observed our galaxy and sunspots.

Those telescopes had problems with chromatic aberrations. The colors didn’t reflect accurately, and Galilei was aware of it. Other scientists knew it, too. That’s why Newton designed reflection units later to resolve this issue.

4. Today’s Advanced Devices Remove Chromatic Aberrations

The initial refractor telescope lenses had problems with chromatic aberrations. Technology has improved since then. Today’s units usually don’t have these problems. It’s why the refraction units remained in use.

All it takes is to pick a high-quality telescope. A triplet optical design ensures optimal image contrast. It generates colors with impressive accuracy. Today’s refractive units can even have an aperture bigger than 80mm, which was a standard for a long time.

5. Refraction Telescopes Are 30 Times Longer Than the First Units

The device that Galileo invented wasn’t longer than two inches. As others had new technology available and perfected the units, the size increased. 

Today, you won’t find a refraction telescope shorter than one foot. Their length often goes up to five feet, which is roughly 30 times bigger than Galileo’s devices. It’s interesting to note that the lenses aren’t long, and they rarely take over eight inches of space.

6. You’ll Find Two Lenses in a Single Unit

Each refraction telescope needs to have two lens types. That construction ensures it will work properly. The first one is a concave unit. It helps to focus the light that an object emits on a single point.

The convex lenses work together with concave units. Their task is to spread the light from the other piece. That should ensure a clearer and better image of a distant item.

While discussing refracting lenses, it’s worth mentioning their use is versatile. You’ll often find them in rifle scopes and binoculars. They give a high-quality image in optimal and inferior conditions. That’s an important benefit. 

7. They Dismantled the Largest Refracting Telescope

People had the chance to see the biggest device of this type in 1900. The experts constructed the unit for the Great Paris Exhibition. It had an impressive diameter of 49 inches (125 centimeters). They didn’t find use after the event, so the authorities decided to dismantle it.

What about the largest refracting telescope you can see today? It is in Yerkes Observatory in Wisconsin, USA. Its diameter is 40 inches (102 centimeters). The dedication dates back to 1897, and they’ve been using it for astronomy ever since.

What Are Refractor Telescopes Good For?

What Are Refractor Telescopes Good For?

These units are excellent for two observer types. If you need an entry-level unit at an affordable price, go for a refraction telescope. These devices can also be high-end products that deliver superb image quality. The problem is that these are premium constructions. They are often the most expensive in the market.

Here’s a quick overview of the best refractor telescope benefits:

  • It has a simple design. You don’t have to be a professional to understand how these devices work. The lenses capture the image as the waves of light pass through the unit.
  • It only requires minimal maintenance. The products have a closed construction, which protects them from dust and humidity. The permanent lens mount and alignment mean almost no effort when caring about the unit.
  • Excellent for terrestrial viewing and observing the stars. You can use refractors to get distant objects on earth closer. These devices are also great for looking at the planets, moons, and the sky.

Final Thoughts

The refractor telescope design is simple. It uses lenses to produce a decent image for amateur sky observers. These units are portable because they are compact-sized and lightweight.

Professionals will appreciate high-end refraction devices with a large aperture. These can be versatile and durable while producing consistent top-quality images. As long as you pick a telescope that meets your expectations, you’ll love its performance!