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How Do Telescopes Work - Telescope Construction

Aug 14, 2008
Construction of telescopes at home is not an impossible task that is evident by the sheer number of people willing to attempt it at home. Learning the methodology of making a telescope is not very difficult if one knows what has to be done during construction. In simple words, that means that one must be clear about the purpose of the construction, whether to achieve the same quality as that of telescopes available in stores or just create one for the sheer joy and pride of making it.

The fundamental function of a telescope is to bring distant objects closer to one's sight. The main element of the telescope that assists in this function is the primary mirror, also called the objective lens. It gathers light from objects that are far from sight and produces a secondary image at the focal point of the second component, the eyepiece. This eyepiece magnifies the image and this enhanced image is what a telescope user is able to view. The basic requirements of telescope construction are:

1. Two magnifying lenses (1.5" in diameter, where one is greater in size from the other)

2. Housing compartment (a tube made of cardboard like from a roll of paper-towel)

3. Duct tape

4. Scissors

5. A measuring instrument like a ruler or tape

6. Printed paper- 1 sheet, even newspaper is sufficient

As a first step, place the bigger magnifying lens on the paper. When the paper is viewed through the lens, the print appears blurred. Now, put the second, smaller lens such that it is positioned between the bigger lens and the eye. This lens must be positioned such that the print appears magnified and inverted. At this position, the print is in focus.

For subsequent steps, you will require the assistance of another person. This person must measure the distance between the two lenses. The cardboard tube must now be cut such that there is a slot in it near the front end, an inch away from the opening. This slot should be able to hold the larger lens.

The same distance away from the first cut, as that between the two lenses initially, another cut must be made. This second slot is for holding the smaller lens. Once the slots are made, the lenses must be fixed into position. The bigger lens is at the front end, while the small one is at the back end. Duct tape should be used to fix them into place. The smaller lens should be about half inch to one inch away from the nether end so that the excess length of the tube can be cut off.

Once the lenses are in place, the arrangement can be checked by viewing the print viewed earlier. To ensure that the distance between the lenses is perfect, slight adjustments may be required, so that image is at the exact focal point. This method is enough for constructing a simple homemade telescope. If you are familiar with the working principle of each element of a telescope, then building one at home is not a tremendously difficult task. If you are not used to it, then too you can attempt to build your own telescope using the method just described.
About the Author
For more information on telescopes for children as well as tips on getting telescope mirror kit visit http://www.howdotelescopeswork.com, the online resources on telescopes making and usage.
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