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By W. Houston

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5 – but this is only ~50% more than the path though air. So the actual path length error will only be 1/16 wavelength – one-quarter that of the equivalent error in a mirror! 5. The expensive refractors which are prized for their exquisite images tend to have more time expended on them by a master optician than is generally the case with mirrors and so will tend to be closer to optical perfection. This is not to say that reflecting telescopes cannot be superb, and one can purchase mirrors, such as those made by the Zambuto Optical Company, which are very close to optical perfection and give images comparable to the very best apochromat refractors.

The greater the amount of aerosols in the atmosphere, the greater the amount of light that is reflected back, so helping to mask the already attenuated light from the star or deep-sky object. It so happens that on the nights when the transparency is very poor, the seeing is usually very good, and a calm night in autumn can be an excellent time for observing and imaging the planets. Conversely, when the transparency is very good, the seeing can be really bad but then, should the Moon not intrude, deep-sky objects that do not need a high magnification to observe are the better targets.

It should be pointed out that the mating elements used to match the characteristics of the ED element are just as important in controlling chromatic aberration as is the accuracy with which the lenses are figured, coated and assembled. One will often find telescopes being sold under different brand names that look, apart from the company’s logo, identical. The mechanical components are sourced from various machining companies around the world, and several manufacturers may well use the same components.

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