Telescope aperture or Focal length?

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Every telescope can be chosen on the basis of two criteria because one of the main characters that will be taken into account is either aperture or focal length. Aperture in a telescope is the objective length diameter when it is referred to a refracting telescope or the primary mirror when it is referred to reflecting telescope. So, if you switch to greater focal length, it is clearly better to observe remote objects in space such as the Moon, planets, etc. or if you require better observation of DSO (deep space objects) such as galaxies getting a device with greater aperture figures is better.

Telescope Aperture

The diameter of the region, which collects the light is defined as aperture. Two regions exist in general. Firstly is the objective length diameter that can be found in refracting telescopes as well as the prime mirror that can be found in reflecting telescopes. Aperture is responsible for determining the maximum usable magnification power or MUM factor. This means that when a telescope is pushed to its maximum 50x and then it loses the object’s clarity. In order to get better clarity of remote objects, the aperture has to be higher so that the MUM power is not affected and you can clearly see the objects. For instance, to view Saturn properly, the aperture diameter of 280x will be fine.

Aperture is responsible for determining the maximum usable magnification power or MUM factor

Telescope aperture explained

The viewing conditions always have to be taken into account. So, in perfect conditions, 1 inch of aperture will get you 20x to 50x of magnification quite easily. Then, a 4-inch scope will usually provide an astronomer with 200x magnification, whereas 10 inches will offer you the chance to gain 500x. Afterward, atmospheric scintillate will make an observed image degraded and clarity will be much lower. Consequentially, it is understood that observation of close planets will be fine with anything that varies from 50x to 200x. Observation of remote planets will require 300x and more. Observation of the universe will always require the maximum aperture possible.

Telescope Aperture comparison

It is important to mention that in most of the cases you will see the desired objects in the solar system or in the universe if the aperture figure is low. In simple words, an aperture is responsible for clarity.

  • 20x to 50x magnification will make sure that you can perfectly observe the details of the Moon but although the planets will still be visible, its clarity will be bad.
  • 100x magnification will ensure that details of planets like Mars, Venus, and Mercury. Jupiter may require higher figures.
  • 280 magnification will ensure decent observation of Saturn. Planets located further will require more MUM power.

Telescope aperture comparison

Is bigger aperture better?

It is proved that the bigger the figure of aperture, the better it is for an observer to see objects clearly and in more details. It can be explained by the fact that when more light gets into a telescope’s system the faster focus will be. Much smaller depth of the field will be provided, which is also a great advantage. Higher quality bokeh will be ensured too. Wide aperture allows more light to fall on the sensor, so there is greater versatility. However, aperture is not the most significant factor that will have to be taken into account by the beginners.

Focal length of a telescope

When the light gets on a mirror or through the length of a telescope, it then directed by the device’s optics to be focused at a certain point. This length is called the focal length of a certain object. The focusing length of a telescope is expressed by numbers that indicate at the maximum focusing range of a lens when it is focused at infinity. For instance, if a certain telescope has the 1200 mm of focal length as well as 20 mm eyepiece, the overall figure of magnification will be 60x.

What does the Focal Length of a telescope?

The focal length plays a crucial part in the whole observation process. It indicates an actual distance from the objective to a place where an observed image is formed. The bigger the figure of the focal length, the greater the magnitude will be. The focal length is important for the quality of an observed image because the further it is located the greater focusing will be required.

Is a longer Focal Length better for a telescope?

It always depends on the objectives of a certain astronomer and his experience. The long focal length provides a narrow view of a certain point of the sky but the actual viewed object will be larger and seen better. The short focal length is the most suited for looking at large objects as well as star fields. The long focal length will also be ideal for studying small objects and see them in more details. It includes the Moon and planets.

What is a good focal ratio for a telescope?

The long focal length of a telescope will be ideal to watch the stars, it usually should have 1000 mm to 1200 mm diameter. The short focal length is ideal to view the Moon and planets, whereas 80 mm to 150 mm will be fine to do so. Therefore, if you are the beginner and planning to commence astronomical observation of the sky, it is probably a good idea to kick start with 80-150 mm telescopes. When choosing a telescope you should remember that the focal length has to be chosen with a combination of the diameter of the length that is expressed in a zoom ratio, which is stated as D. It is proved that the most suited D for majority of the telescopes is 1.6-2D. The chances that you will not see anything with a high D figure when buying short-focus eyepieces are very high, so please choose wisely.

The long focal length of a telescope will be ideal to watch the stars, the short is better to view the Moon and planets

Formula of telescope Focal Length

Focal length formula is needed to know its power and capability. For accurately calculate the power of a telescope you will have to divide the telescope focal length by the eyepiece focal length. The result of the calculation will give you the X power. So if a certain tool has 600 mm of the focal length and 20mm eyepiece, then 600/20=30. It means that you get 30x of power.

Telescope Focal Length / Eyepiece Focal Length = Telescope Magnification

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