Questions tagged [telescope]

Questions related to the physical instruments for astronomical observations.

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15
votes
2answers
20k views

A good telescope for the viewing of Nebulae, Stars and Planets

So, I am a 15 year old interested in astronomy. My father used to have a reflector telescope, but was never so serious about it that he could recommend me a good telescope. I am looking to buy a ...
26
votes
2answers
145k views

How much magnification is needed to see the planets of solar system?

I have a 3inch Newtonian reflector telescope with 300 mm focal length. I can use highest magnification of 75x using a 4mm eyepiece. But in 75x I can't see the details of Jupiter what was expected. ...
10
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2answers
1k views

What (actually) is the " deprojected half-light radius" of this almost-all-dark-matter Galaxy?

The recent news of the Ultra Diffuse Galaxy (UDG) Dragonfly 44 is an excellent example of what could be termed 'observe different' thinking. The dragonfly telescope is noted not for the size of its ...
9
votes
2answers
379 views

Is it possible to figure out your location in the Milky Way if you are suddenly wormholed to a random, distant location in the galaxy?

If you were flying along in your spacecraft somewhere in our solar system and then a large, stable wormhole suddenly opened and you flew into it and were whisked away to some distant location in the ...
8
votes
3answers
773 views

When did "resilvering" large telescope mirrors actually refer to aluminization, and why was it necessary?

This answer nicely summarizes the general picture of historical use of silver for mid to large size telescope mirrors, and the shift to aluminum once good quality vacuum pumps and chambers suitable ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

How would a Fast Fourier Transform Telescope work without a mirror, dish or lenses?

I recently came across a short article mentioning the idea for a telescope built without mirrors or lenses that instead uses an array of antennas and massive computing power to resolve an image. Such ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the maximum distance measurable with parallax? [duplicate]

What is the furthest star or celestial object whose distance has been calculated with parallax and how does it compare to the theoretical limit using today's telescopes? And how exactly does telescope ...
33
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4answers
3k views

What will succeed the Arecibo Observatory?

Just a few minutes ago, I got a notification from Space.com stating that the Arecibo Observatory will be, sadly, decommissioned due to extensive damage to its structure. So, with the loss of one of ...
4
votes
1answer
249 views

Can a telescope ever increase the apparent luminance of an extended object?

From what I know about common telescope designs, telescopes don't increase the apparent luminance of extended objects compared to the luminance seen with the naked eye. In this sense extended objects ...
4
votes
2answers
3k views

Why can’t I see any detail on planets?

I really want to know why I can’t see detail on planets. This summer my Dad and I went on a trip to Utah I went outside to look at the planets and couldn’t see detail on Mars, Saturn, and Jupiter. ...
8
votes
7answers
1k views

Could mirrors be replaced with CCDs?

Why do telescopes use mirrors that simply reflect photons, when they instead could be covered with large sensors to register them? Reflection is all good and well, all thanks to silver and beryllium ...
7
votes
2answers
249 views

What makes small interferometers useful? Like NIRISS on JWST

NIRISS is an instrument on the James Webb Space Telescope. It has a "non-redundant aperture mask" which obviously covers most of the area of the sensor. It seems to be advantageous for high contrast ...
4
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0answers
69 views

How did Michelson measure the diameters of jupiter's moons using optical interferometry?

In Betelgeuse: How its Diameter was measured (Chant, C. A., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 15, p.133, Bibliographic Code: 1921JRASC..15..133C) the author says: The paper in ...
9
votes
1answer
343 views

What is a quaternary mirror and why does the E-ELT need one?

In this recent BBC article I read the one-sentence paragraph: "Development on the mirrors - in particular, a very complex quaternary mirror - continues apace." and became interested in the ...
8
votes
4answers
598 views

Where exactly is the modification that first corrected the spherical aberration in Hubble's primary mirror?

The April 2015 CBS News article How NASA fixed Hubble's flawed vision - and reputation describes the modification taken to the Hubble Space Telescopes by the Space Shuttle that was used to correct for ...
5
votes
1answer
171 views

Which space telescope is the most distant?

From the earth, and from the sun. Only interested in active, operational ones.
5
votes
4answers
232 views

How can Mercury's sodium tail be imaged?

I recently learned that Mercury has a sodium tail. Can this sodium tail be imaged with a ground based telescope? Is so, what is the minimum setup required to be able to take a picture of it? Do you ...
3
votes
2answers
272 views

Astromaster Celestron 130 EQ

I brought a new Astromaster 130 EQ and collimated it using a laser. However, whenever I try to observe moon I get a perfect picture but with other planets I see only a bright glowing ball which ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

How does making a refracting telescope very long reduce the chromatic aberration of an uncorrected lens?

Below are two cropped views of "Johannes Hevelius's 8 inch telescope with an open work wood and wire "tube" that had a focal length of 150 feet to limit chromatic aberration." from ...
2
votes
1answer
233 views

What is the large astronomical instrument shown in this 1918 eclipse expedition photo?

This nice video musing about (among other things) the US Naval Observatory's $3,500 expedition to Baker City or at least Baker County Oregon to observe the June 18, 1918 solar eclipse, there is a ...
1
vote
2answers
232 views

Why does this Lowell Observatory telescope have so many knobs? What do they all do?

The Fox News article Arizona city played critical role in moon exploration history covers several interesting activities that took place in Arizona in preparation for the Apollo Moon landings. It ...
8
votes
1answer
902 views

Which type of telescope should I make?

I am not very much interested in observational physics but I just like to look at the night sky. It gives me a lot of inspiration. So, i was thinking about making a telescope for basic observations. I ...
12
votes
2answers
4k views

How does a telescope measure parallax angle?

I know how stars' distances are measured by using parallax, but I want to know how the actual telescope measures the parallax angle. Any helpful links/ explanations are needed.
29
votes
5answers
8k views

Is it possible to mount a telescope on a plane? Is it beneficial?

I was wondering if any planes had mounted telescopes with the intent to observe the stars. I understand that the atmosphere itself can warp and hinder incoming light and even completely obscure views ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

What should I look for in an astronomy tripod?

I have a Celstron SkyMaster 20x80 binoculars, and a tripod — Vanguard 263AT with a SBH-100 head. The binoculars weighs 2.2kg, while the head is rated to a loading capacity of 10kg, and the legs to a ...
4
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1answer
323 views

Any cheap (less than 100 euro) telescope for observing Jupiter? [closed]

The moon is not challenging. I would like to observe the big planets and their rings.
2
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0answers
42 views

What are recent discoveries with Earth-based radar telescopes?

The Wikipedia article on radar astronomy lists a few important discoveries using radar technology in general, i.e. also using space-crafts: The following is a list of planetary bodies that have been ...
1
vote
2answers
12k views

what magnification is required to see jupiter, saturn, venus and mars with a 50mm refractor scope with f/12 ratio and 600mm focal lenth

i have a beginner telescope of 50mm and want to see planets it is arefractor with f/12 ratio and two eyepieces of 5mm and 10mm and i want to see mars, Jupiter, Saturn and venus. my max zoom ix 120x ...
1
vote
2answers
208 views

Can I see Jupiter, Mars and Saturn through the National Geographic 76/350 Dobsonian Telescope?

Is it possible to see Mars, Jupiter and Saturn through the National Geographic 76/350 Dobsonian Telescope? It's the most affordable telescope I can get at the moment. Also, what about the moon? Will ...
11
votes
1answer
346 views

What are the next planned space telescopes?

We've had hubble for two decades. Its become the most famous space telescope, and lately Kepler seems to be running for the second place. Are there any more powerful, better telescopes planned for ...
9
votes
4answers
766 views

Why are telescope mirrors made of glass?

Optical telescope mirrors are typically made from endlessly polished glass surfaces that have been aluminised to provide a very smooth surface of reflective aluminium. But why the need for glass at ...
8
votes
1answer
747 views

Plot of best available resolution vs wavelength - radio through gamma rays?

What I'm looking for is a graphic that shows in a general way the best available telescope resolution vs wavelength throughout the entire wavelength spectrum. So for example, there might be two very ...
6
votes
4answers
623 views

Why not use only one support vane for the secondary mirror, to avoid multiple diffraction spikes?

Each vane holding the secondary mirror in front of the primary causes a diffraction spike. Couldn't the secondary mirror be held with only one vane? If stability is the issue, couldn't it be ...
6
votes
2answers
25k views

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a 2-inch eyepiece versus a 1.25-inch eyepiece?

I'm considering picking up some new eyepieces for my telescope and am interested in comparing 2-inch and 1.25-inch eyepieces. Are there any disadvantages to 2-inch eyepieces? Are 2-inch eyepieces only ...
6
votes
1answer
225 views

How does the black hole at the center of M87 look like in the visible spectrum?

I learned here that the picture of the black hole we saw all over the news was a false color image, based on the radio spectrum emissions. How would the black hole at the center of M87 look like when ...
5
votes
3answers
406 views

What is it about the layout of the three gratings in a Bahtinov mask that makes its indicate focus in this way?

The question Lucky imaging with Celestron 14 - is this result reasonable? includes a beautiful example of a focus test using a Bahtinov mask and the image below from Deep Sky Watch's Home Made ...
5
votes
2answers
642 views

A smudge near Jupiter

I was looking at the Jupiter for the first time today and I have noticed a smudge near it. Could someone explain what it is, please? I was looking online but did not find anything. So I thought that ...
4
votes
0answers
99 views

Deciding optical factors between a refractive and reflective space telescope optics as a function of aperture? (visible light)

Reading Yale News' Lighting a path to Planet Nine: To detect objects that are otherwise undetectable, Rice and Laughlin employ a method called “shifting and stacking.” They “shift” images from a ...
4
votes
1answer
146 views

What are the benefits of a large refracting telescope?

Currently, refractor telescopes are limited in aperture because gravity will deform the main lens over time. According to Wikipedia the largest practical refracting telescope is 1m. If we were to ...
4
votes
3answers
4k views

Minimum telescope needed to see the rings of the Saturn

I am a total novice. My daughter, likes Saturn. Since Saturn is so close I thought it was a good time to view it with her. What are the minimum needed telescope specs? Update: Can answer answers be ...
4
votes
4answers
274 views

Suggestions for a beginner-friendly telescope

I'm hoping someone can point me in the right direction for a beginner-friendly telescope for my family. My husband has mentioned wanting a telescope off and on for a few years, but he's never delved ...
3
votes
2answers
233 views

How do I see more than just points in the sky?

I just bought a new telescope with these specifications: Aperture: 203 mm Focal Length: 1200 mm F/ratio: f/5.9 I usually use a 28 mm eyepiece, giving me about 42.5x magnification, but I also have a ...
3
votes
3answers
353 views

Who invented the blink comparator?

The Wikipedia page for the blink comparator fails to mention who invented it. Many other pages extol the importance of the device, but we cannot find any mention of an inventor. Wikipedia does ...
2
votes
1answer
950 views

What is the faintest magnitude a telescope can see?

This website claims: The space telescope can detect objects as faint as 31st magnitude... It's referring to Hubble, but does not cite any source or math. How do you calculate the faintest (...
2
votes
1answer
75 views

Do triple or more times reflecting telescopes exist?

Refractors only use the length of the telescope once, reflectors twice, catadioptric telescopes like those of the Schmidt-Cassegrain design three times. Have telescopes been built that reflect the ...
2
votes
1answer
2k views

In a reflecting telescope (Cassegrain), is there a difference between using a concave or convex secondary mirror?

These are two diagrams of Cassegrain reflecting telescopes. One uses a concave secondary mirror, and the other uses a convex one. Is there any difference between the two? For example, does one cost ...
2
votes
1answer
180 views

Difference between first (focal length (fl.) 500 mm, ocular (o.) 10 mm) and second telescope (fl. 1000 mm, o. 20 mm)? (both 50 x)

Magnification is defined as $f_{objectiv}/f_{ocular}$. If I had the first telescope with the focal length of 500 mm, ocular 10 mm and second telescope with the focal length of 1000 mm, ocular 20 mm, ...
2
votes
1answer
2k views

Black dot visible when looking into the telescope

A few weeks a go I bought a telescope. The problem is I am a total beginner. I was able to setup the telescope correctly and I already saw the moon very clearly. Then I moved on to jupiter. When I ...
2
votes
1answer
363 views

Why is this telescope so short? How hard is it to make such a fast primary?

The recently discovered object C/2019 Q4 (Borisov) is in the news because it might have an eccentricity greater than one, which means it might be from outside the solar system, though not necessarily. ...
2
votes
3answers
330 views

How did Johannes Hevelius' long telescope work? Why all the round holes?

The drawing below, found in Wikimedia and at lib.harvard.edu is of a very long tubed aerial telescope. I believe it is taken from his 1673 work Machinae coelestis. I've always wondered about the ...