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What Are the Different Telescope Parts?

By G. Wiesen
Updated: May 16, 2024

There are many different telescope parts typically used to assemble a complete telescope, though parts can vary somewhat depending on the type of telescope. Common parts of just about all telescopes include a mounting plate, a stand, an eyepiece, focusers, and a finder scope. Refractor telescopes also have a primary focusing lens placed at the front of the telescope as well as a secondary mirror or lens. For a reflector telescope, common telescope parts include a primary mirror positioned at the back of the telescope and a secondary mirror and “spider” at the front.

Telescope parts typically refer to the different pieces and parts assembled to create a telescope. Though many different telescopes may have different parts or differences in particular parts, there are a number of pieces common across nearly all telescopes. The body or tube of the telescope is typically the main part of the telescope itself and all other pieces are related to this tube in some way. Telescope parts also typically include a mount or mounting plate, which connects the tube to some type of stand, often a tripod, and usually includes a mechanism to adjust the position of the tube.

Most telescopes have an eyepiece on the tube, which is the part of the telescope a person actually looks into to view images through the telescope. Common telescope parts also include focusers that can be used to adjust the focus of the telescope, usually by adjusting the mirror or lens position or the length of the tube. A finder scope is typically connected to the side of the tube, which allows the user to quickly view a larger area of the sky, before using the telescope to view a very small region.

Different types of telescopes can include different telescope parts, though mirrors or lenses are always required in some orientation. A refractor telescope utilizes a primary lens positioned at the front of the tube. Light enters this primary lens and is refracted down to a more narrow point at greater magnification. A secondary lens is then typically used to view the image through the telescope, and a mirror may be used to allow the eyepiece to be placed to the side of the telescope.

Telescope parts on a reflector telescope serve a similar purpose but are oriented in a different way. Rather than a lens, a reflector telescope has a primary mirror located at the back of the tube. This magnifies and reflects the image back up toward the front of the tube, where it is focused onto a smaller secondary mirror, which is held in place by a “spider.” This secondary mirror then reflects the image to the side of the tube, where it enters an eyepiece for viewing.

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