Last updated: August 16, 2021

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The wonders of the universe are waiting for you, and you will be able to observe them up close with a must-have instrument for astronomy lovers: a reflecting telescope. We welcome you to ReviewBox and introduce you to a space where the love of science trumps all.

The primary origin of reflecting telescopes is unclear, but their scope and usefulness in both school and professional settings is clear. An element of this style is designed to bring fun, learning and technological advances and knowledge to mankind.

Throughout this text we will talk about the best models you can find on the market today and the characteristics that a reflector telescope must have to be your best acquisition. Open yourself to the wonders that the universe has to offer and follow us!




The most important

  • Reflecting telescopes are instruments that allow detailed space or terrestrial viewing, and work with mirrors to capture light and generate sharp, magnified images. They are used by amateurs and professionals alike.
  • Reflecting telescopes are a favourite of many, but it is necessary to choose between Newtonian and Cassegrain models. Each has a different use of mirrors and a different structure, so they will generate a very particular experience.
  • Before buying your reflector telescope, consider the aperture capacity, focal length, ease or complexity of assembly, and your previous experience with this type of instrument, its mounts, types of optics and focal ratio. You are sure to find the perfect choice for you.

The Best Reflecting Telescope: Our Picks

Buying guide: What you need to know about reflector telescopes

What do you think of these reflector telescope models? If you thought that's all we had to offer about them, stay a little longer for some basic and advanced information about their features and functionality.

Reflecting telescopes are a great way to get children interested in science and space. (Photo: Fabian Stroobants / Pixabay)

What is a reflecting telescope and what are its advantages?

A reflecting telescope is a type of telescope that uses mirrors instead of lenses to allow you to see images and capture light. It is also known as a catoptric telescope.

These instruments are usually used by people with some study in astronomy and even by professionals, to observe the sky and all its elements. The different models will provide different experiences and scopes, and here we show you their main advantages.

Advantages
  • They allow close observation of the stars
  • They can be transported from one place to another
  • They encourage scientific study in children
  • They are usually durable
  • They have a diversity of functions and scopes
  • Some allow printing and collecting images
Disadvantages
  • They are usually expensive
  • Previous knowledge is needed to use it

Newtonian and Cassegrain reflecting telescopes - what should you pay attention to?

When it comes to reflecting telescopes, there are 2 models that you will often come across: Newtonian and cassegrain telescopes. If you haven't heard about them before, pay attention to their differences.

Newtonian. Newtonian reflecting telescopes are usually the simplest models, so they are recommended for people who have had little or no experience with astronomical research and exploration. For this reason, their price tends to be cheaper than Cassegrain designs.

The main feature of the Newtonian is its duality of mirrors for light and image collection: one parabolic and one flat. On the downside, they can lose the clarity or sharpness of what is observed as the diameter of the lens increases.

Cassegrain. These models are suitable for amateurs, but only when they have already had some contact with telescopes previously, as their handling and adjustment can be more complex. Their versatility and functionality allows them to be used by professional astronomers as well.

It has a parabolic main mirror perforated in its centre to receive the light coming from a convex secondary mirror. Their focal length is very large and wide, and due to their better performance and greater complexity of manufacture, they tend to be more expensive.

Newtonian Cassegrain
Design Simple More complex
Use Amateur Amateur and professional
Number of main mirrors 2 1
Price Medium or expensive, depending on model Expensive
Focal length Low coverage Wide coverage

How much does a reflecting telescope cost?

Reflecting telescopes will increase in value depending on the type you choose, their range, features and other elements. But you can find affordable options starting at 750 MXN or 1,000 MXN.

However, the most popular options are usually a bit higher, ranging from MXN 2,500 to MXN 10,000. Reflector telescopes with higher specifications, range, and distinction (especially the Cassegrain) may exceed 20,000 MXN.

Purchasing criteria

We love all instruments that can help us become more aware of the world around us and the origin of our nature. But before selecting the ideal reflector telescope for you, it is important that you know these points.

  • Aperture
  • Focal length
  • Previous experience
  • Mount
  • Lens types
  • Focal ratio

Aperture

The aperture of a reflecting telescope will determine the sharpness and brightness of everything we can observe through it. This is known by the diameter of the main mirror of our instrument.

Less than 100 mm. Reflecting telescopes with an aperture of less than 100 mm are mainly used by those who have not had previous experience with these instruments or who wish to use them recreationally or in an initial training period.

With this type of aperture (which can start at 50 mm), the more opaque elements, such as globular stars, cloud belts of planets like Jupiter, luminous spheres, and the like, can be observed.

More than 100 mm. In the case of reflecting telescopes, it is always recommended to go for an aperture between 100 mm and 200 mm to ensure a better observation of space and its elements. This will also guarantee a better quality of the images you get, so it is used more professionally.

In this case, it will be possible to observe details in a more defined way, such as structures within cloud belts and faint stars that would be difficult to observe with other apertures or ranges.

Focal length

One of the most important aspects of reflecting telescopes is to know their focal length (also known as focal length), which is represented by the length of the tube. This means the path along which the captured light passes from the main mirror to the viewer's eye.

Short focal length. This exists when the range is from 400 mm to 900 mm, and low power and wide fields of view are generated. For this reason, they are often used for observing deep skies and the star fields present in the Milky Way. Use it mainly if you are inexperienced or if you want it for amateur use.

Long focal length. This will allow access to more specific formations such as planets, for example. These can range from 1,000 mm to 3,500 mm. In some cases, it is used together with Barlow magnifiers for a better experience. They are often used professionally or advanced.

Previous experience

Depending on your previous experience with reflecting telescopes or other telescopes of a different nature, it may be preferable to purchase different models so that they can be better adapted to your needs and your learning process will be smoother.

Novice or beginner. If you want to enter the world of reflector telescopes, you can opt for options that are easier to use and assemble. It is important that they are easy to use, so a Newtonian model is recommended. At the same time, you will not need a large aperture, so you can opt for 80 mm or 100 mm options.

Advanced or professional use. If you have had some exposure to the world of astronomy, it is likely that you will need a more advanced instrument. In this case, look for options larger than 120 mm and even approaching 200 mm. Cassegrain models will provide greater sharpness and image quality for those who already know how to use it.

Mount

There are several different types of mounts to choose from when selecting a reflector telescope. However, we can divide them into 2 basic types: equatorial mounts and azimuthal mounts. We will tell you briefly about them:

Equatorial. Can be more complicated for beginners to use, as it is not intuitive. It provides a better result, as one of its axes is positioned parallel to the earth's rotation axis and compensates for this movement, so it is often used to observe celestial objects more accurately.

Azimuthal. This is preferred by beginners, as it is usually more intuitive and easier to use, and tends to be frequently used in small reflecting telescopes and ground-based telescopes. Types include Dobson mounts (used on Newtonian models) and monopole mounts (used on Cassegrain models).

Types of optics

Optics or eyepieces are accessories that are included with reflecting telescopes to magnify your view of the landscape, so you can observe the image better. You can find the final magnification by dividing the focal length of your telescope by the focal length of your eyepiece.

Moderate magnification. When you don't need to achieve a very high magnification, you can opt for optics with high focal lengths, among which you can find 20 mm, 25 mm, 32 mm and 40 mm. They are useful when you want to observe open planes and cover several elements at the same time in your image.

High magnification. These are ideal for planetary and lunar observation, as the magnification provided will be higher and you will be able to focus better on a specific element. In this case, you can opt for 10 mm, 7 mm or 4 mm optics, depending on how close you need to observe your target.

Focal ratio

You already know the importance of aperture and focal length, but the real value of a reflecting telescope and the quality of its image can be found by knowing the focal ratio between these two variables. This is obtained by dividing the aperture by the focal length, to find short or long focal ratios.

Short. You can say that a focal ratio is short when its result is less than 6 (for example, an aperture of 50 mm with a focal length of 500 m would result in a ratio of 5). In this case, you will get a brighter telescope that will capture galaxies, nebulae and other deep space objects.

Long. When the focal ratio is long (6 or more), you will have a low-luminosity reflecting telescope in your hands that will sharpen the objects being observed, especially those close to or included in the solar system, such as clusters, moons and planets.

(Featured Image Photo: David Cabrera Navarro / 123rf.com)

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