Q:

What are telescopes used for?

A:

Quick Answer

Telescopes are used for gathering and analyzing the radiation released by distant objects. They are capable of operating at varying frequencies of the electromagnetic spectrum, including radio waves, gamma rays, microwave, infrared, ultraviolet and X-rays.

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Full Answer

The main function of telescopes is collecting light. They can view fine details and record sights using cameras. Bigger telescopes can gather more light and can therefore see objects that are farther away. They can identify things at a greater distance and widen the expanse of the observable universe.

Optical telescopes are composed of lenses and mirrors that enlarge faraway things or improve the brightness of indistinct objects. Radio telescopes identify noise based on radio wavelengths in space. They can form an image of the object they listen to based on the sound they gather from that object.

Researchers use X-ray telescopes to acquire information on the sun, stars and supernovas. Gamma ray telescopes are used to verify various phenomena, such as black holes and pulsars. Reflecting telescopes provide incredibly detailed images of distant objects in the universe, including faraway galaxies, nebulae and dying stars.

Telescopes have a limited resolution due to disturbances and irregularities in the air. Their resolution cannot increase beyond the limit even if the size of the light-collecting aperture is made bigger. Many astronomers use telescopes atop mountains, because the telescopes can generate a better resolution due to the thinner atmosphere.

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Related Questions

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    What types of equipment do astronomers use?

    A:

    According to NASA, modern astronomers’ tools include advanced telescopes capable of studying light reflected from the sun, moon, planets, comets and stars. Radio telescopes are utilized in the study of radio waves, while space-borne gamma ray telescopes aid in the study of gamma rays.

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  • Q:

    What is a catadioptric telescope?

    A:

    A catadioptric telescope, also known as a compound telescope, is an optical system that uses a combination of lenses and curved mirrors to offer a wider field of view with a lower probability of error than earlier types of telescopes. Astronomers built the first catadioptric telescopes in the 1930s.

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    What is a non-optical telescope?

    A:

    Non-optical telescopes examine light from the sky at wavelengths other than those of visible light. Many different types exist to study incoming radio waves, microwaves, infrared and near-infrared rays, ultraviolet rays, X-rays and gamma rays.

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  • Q:

    How does a telescope work?

    A:

    Refracting telescopes use objective lenses to collect light from distant images and bring those images into focus. Reflecting telescopes use primary mirrors. Both refractors and reflectors utilize an eyepiece lens that magnifies the image.

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