Why do astronomers use telescopes?
Astronomers use telescopes because they're much better than our eyes. Here are a few reasons:
1 Telescopes see lots of colors - telescopes can collect light that our eyes are unable to: radio, microwave, infrared, ultraviolet, x-rays and gamma rays.
2 Telescopes collect lots of light - our pupils are only a few millimeters across, so we can only collect photons over a tiny area whereas telescopes can collect photons of huge areas (football fields worth for radio telescopes)
3 Telescopes see fine details - Because of the wave nature of light and the nerves in our eyes, we can only see details about the same angular size as Jupiter's width. Telescopes can allow us to resolve fine details - like Jupiter's Great Red Spot.
4 Telescopes can record observations with cameras - You can see things with your eye and draw them, but telescopes can share observations with the world! This is especially important for convincing skeptics what you saw was real!
Get More 'Curious?' with Our New PODCAST:
- Podcast? Subscribe? Tell me about the Ask an Astronomer Podcast
- Subscribe to our Podcast | Listen to our current Episode
- Cool! But I can't now. Send me a quick reminder now for later.
How to ask a question:
If you have a follow-up question concerning the above subject, submit it here. If you have a question about another area of astronomy, find the topic you're interested in from the archive on our site menu, or go here for help.Table 'curious.Referrers' doesn't existTable 'curious.Referrers' doesn't exist
This page has been accessed 6187 times since December 8, 2011.
Last modified: December 9, 2011 10:49:51 AM
Ask an Astronomer is hosted by the Astronomy Department at Cornell University and is produced with PHP and MySQL.
Warning: Your browser is misbehaving! This page might look ugly. (Details)