Telescope Optics Topics

by Bryan Greer

Why Should I Care How My Telescope Works?

A thorough understanding of optics is certainly not required to enjoy amateur astronomy. However, some knowledge of what makes your scope perform at its best will increase the frequency of those memorable views. Poorly performing telescopes rob from your enthusiasm in the hobby — especially if you are a beginner.

This website is a repository for my personal research, along with additional information to go along with my magazine articles. Much of it is specifically about the Newtonian telescope design, but the rest is more generic. If I think something might be of interest to even a few people, I put it here. The links provided at the bottom are sources of information I consider to be some of the best on the Internet.


Companion web pages for Sky & Telescope magazine articles

September 2000 Sky & Telescope article download page (with videos).

May and June 2004 Sky & Telescope articles download page (with videos).


More Newtonian telescope thermodynamics articles

Tips on attaching a temperature probe to your telescope

Using fans with Newtonian telescopes

February 2008 Note: Gary Seronik wrote an excellent thermal FAQ in the January 2008 issue of Sky & Telescope magazine. It summarizes the most important issues regarding thermal problems in Newtonians, and is a good place to start if you're new to this topic.

Other optical articles

Try this at home! Simple tests you can do with your telescope

How atmospheric seeing affects telescopes with different focal ratios

Animated focal plane illumination map

Properties of various mirror substrate materials

Adventures in collimation

Recommended web sites:

Top Ten Ways of Improving Newtonian Telescope Optics by Dick Suiter

FAQ about Collimating a Newtonian Telescope by Nils Olof Carlin

Some Collimation Myths and Misunderstandings by Nils Olof Carlin

Aberrator software homepage by Cor Berrevoets for star test simulation

Mel Bartels' telescope making pages


About the author. Feel free to contact me at bgreer@fpi-protostar.com if you have questions or comments.