Is there a way to distinguish (with no manual, product info etc)?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ a refractor will have a thick glass lens in front and will tend to taper down to an eyepiece at the other end, whereas a reflector will either be open in the front, or have a thin glass corrector plate. A reflector will be heavier in the back because of the mirror. If you can add any additional information (a name, a photo, some dimensions (diameter, length) or other details) that might really help! update: Oh! there's an answer already! $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Dec 9, 2019 at 12:48

1 Answer 1


There is a wide variety of telescopes, so it's a bit difficult to give a general answer, but here are some pointers:

If there is an open-end, it likely is a reflector telescope (perhaps a Newton). In this case, you can see the secondary mirror attached inside.

When you look through the place where you set the eyepiece, are you facing the same direction as the telescope? If not, it is a reflector.

Look into the part that you would normally point towards what you are trying to observe. If you can see a mirror at the opposite end, it is a reflector.

On certain reflectors, there is a lens on the side that you point towards what you want to observe. In this case, there also is a smaller mirror attached to the inside of this lens. You can't see the reflective part of this smaller mirror, but there should be a couple of screws on the back, that can be used to align the mirror with the rest of the telescope.

On a refractor, the part that you point towards what you want to observe is a lens that should have a rather round surface (as opposed to flat). This lens usually is not at the end of the tube, but rather there is a part to protect from stray light.

It the tube tapers a bit, it most likely is a refractor.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .