Monday, April 11, 2011

High Power Telecsope

A few browsers (facultative grazers?) have come to this blog searching for "high power telescope." Sadly, there are only a few telescope posts around here. But before rocketry, and before kayaking, amateur astronomy was my thing. Sadly, telescopes don't really work on "power" but rather size. They do magnify objects, and that is very helpful, but the real purpose of a telescope is something very different. Telescopes are light buckets, or light funnels one might say; they collect light using a large optical surface area. Compare a mirror or lens from any telescope to the pupil and one can see how they are able to see far fainter objects. Light is the information used in astronomy. By collecting light, and generally only by collecting light, we are able to learn about the Universe without actually visiting most of it. Add long exposures, CCDs, and computers to complete the set.

But while searching for high power telescope, this crazy design came up:

This looks like a conventional large refracting telescope, built in a unique way. Sadly this kind of telescope (on Earth) is limited to about 40 inches aperture. That is not very much by modern standards, but they are still cool. One of the best parts is that these old giants were built with an eyepiece. Modern telescopes cannot be used directly in this way. I would love to check out Saturn with one of these. Anyway, here is the same telescope today:

This is the "large telescope" at the Archenhold Observatory.
Modern Mechanix Blog
The largest refractor ever made

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