Refactor or Reflactor? What are the telescopes types for kids and the advantages and disadvantages of each type?
You’ve decided to buy a children’s telescope (Click here to learn how to choose a kid's telescope). You are probably overwhelmed by the vast variety of different telescopes types. Which is most appropriate for your children? which of the advantages each telescope type has to offer are most relevant to your needs?
Let me tell you, this issue shouldn't concern you. Unlike more professional instruments,in the case of children's telescopes, the companies do this work for us. The children's telescopes are all aimed for simple child usage.
Anyhow, I still think you are better off knowing as much as you can about the advantages and disadvantages of each telescope to be best informed before making your purchase.
Which telescopes types are there to offer?
In general, we can say that the the telescopes types split into two main branches: refractors and reflectors. There is another type which emerges the physical principles of each main type, but it's uncommon in our category of scopes for children, so we won't talk about it. Anyway, for people who intrested to know, it called Catadioptric, and its very popular type among professionals.
The refractor is the classical telescope type. It's long and has a cylindrical shape. It uses lenses as the main component of collecting light.
This fact raises few advantages and disadvantages:
- The refractor is considered to have the best quality for its aperture.
- The lenses are considered to be durable, hence, the refractor doesn't need intensive alignment in comparison to other types.
- The refractor is considered to be more expensive for it's given aperture (not valid for children's telescopes)
- Because of the long shape of this type, it requires a big tripod. Big and stable tripods cost more money. An unstable tripod makes the telescope completely useless. Usually children’s telescopes have short refractors, therefore this point shouldn’t trouble you.
Check out the next refrectors:
The reflector, or the “Newtonian” design is the second main design of telescopes. The reflector uses mirrors as it’s main component. This fact means there are a few things that we should pay attention to:
- The reflector is short and compact because of it's unique design. Therefore it is considered to be very portable. Another meaning, is that a stable and high-cost tripod is not compulsory.
- The image we get is “correct” ( In the refractors the image is upside down).
- Low price for a given apeture.
- The reflector is designed like a tube with a completely open top.where on the other hand, the refractor is sealed on top by the main lens. This design allows dust and dirt to find its way into the tube so the scope needs constant cleaning. More over, the mirrors are considered to be more sensitive to concussions so alignment is required more often.
Check out the next reflectors:
There are many different telescopes types except the main two types that I'v already talked about, but most of them are intending for professionals stargazres. Although, there is one speacial type you should know about, belonging to the reflectors branch.
The dobsonian telescope is one of the most popular children's telescopes thanks to it's simplicity. The optic principle of the dobsonian is reflection, but the main advantage is in the mount - simple Alt-Az mount that doesn't require any calibration or assembly.
The Alt-Az mount allows the telescope to move in two axes- up and down, and left to right. The advantage with of mount is the ease of use and portability, making this a perfect telescope for children. The only disadvantage of this mount is the inability to track a specific celestial object while the sky are "moving".