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Telescope Optics
A Comprehensive Manual for Amateur Astronomers
To order this item outside the United Kingdom, please contact us.
Telescope Optics
  • Authors: Rutten and van Venrooij
  • Publisher: Willman-Bell
  • Hardback
  • Pages: 374
  • First published: 1988, 4th Printing 1999
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Telescope Optics
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This book will both arouse your curiosity and answer your questions. Why are there so many different kinds of telescopes? What does each type have to offer? What makes one telescope better than another? Which are best? Why? What are the tradeoffs? As a telescope buyer, you will be better informed; as a telescope maker, you will be able to design custom optics.

Many readers will find the analyses of existing designs the most valuable part of the book. Newtonians, Cassegrains, Maksutovs, Schmidt cameras and more are described and analyzed so that you can easily compare them. What's your dream telescope? This book will help you choose it.

Others will make use of the power they now have to check, test, and analyze new telescope designs. The design and raytrace programs available as an option to this book will give you the tools you need to begin with a basic design and work systematically until you have created an optimized optical system that meets your personal design criteria. You'll be able to try new types of glass, design a telescope around that corrector shell you have parked in the basement, even compare the performance of many different eyepieces on your telescope.

No longer must you, as an amateur astronomer, meekly accept someone else's opinion about a telescope design. You can scrutinize existing designs and improve them to meet your own standards. Is that new astrographic camera all it's cracked up to be? By ray tracing it, you'll know the answer. Here is what three reviewers had to say about this book.

From The Reviewers
The great merit of the book is in the large number of ray trace spot diagrams shown for the specific designs covered, which allow quick comparison of their performance with regard to field of view, focal ratio, and tube length. Complete optical prescriptions for each design are included. In addition, the book offers the professional designer, who may not have been exposed to the concerns of amateur astronomers, the opportunity to round out his experience. There is a marvelous diagram, the "Telescope Design Tree," which displays the genealogy of the multitude of design types in a clear, efficient manner and updates the old adage about pictures worth a kiloword. It is remarkable that once again amateurs have contributed so greatly to fill a gap left by the professionals.
Optics & Photonics News

This is a ‘comprehensive manual for amateur astronomers’. It describes the optical performance of most of the types of telescope bought (or built) and used by amateurs, and explains why some are suitable for visual observations, and others for photography, some for lunar and planetary work, others for faint and extended nebulae or star clusters. To facilitate comparisons, spot diagrams have been computed for all the telescopes described, and nearly all of them for a standard aperture of 200mm... The chapter on eyepieces is particularly informative... recommended for advanced amateurs...
Journal of the British Astronomical Society

Anyone who wants to know more than just how to use a telescope can learn some optics from this book by two Dutch amateur astronomers, turned optical designers. You’ll acquire a good understanding of the performance possible with the various types of telescopes and have a chance to try your hand as an optical designer.
Telescope Optics provides a comprehensive analysis of practically any type of telescope an amateur would use for visual observation or photography. Coverage of the many types of catadioptric systems is outstanding. Taken in total, it is an optical design book, but written in such a way that amateur astronomers will find it of value whatever their level of interest, and the person seriously interested in design will find it a godsend. I recommend it highly for any serious amateur and for the professional who is going to work in these areas.
Sky & Telescope Magazine

Table of Contents
    Table of Contents
    Editor's Preface
    Chapter 1 Development of the Amateur Telescope
        1.1. Early Developments
        1.2. 20th Century Developments
    Chapter 2 First Order Optics: Lenses and Mirrors
        2.1. Refraction and Reflection
        2.2. Image Formation
        2.3. The Optical System of the Telescope 
        2.4. Flat Plates and Prisms 
    Chapter 3 Image Aberrations and Their Presentation 
        3.1. The Spot Diagram
        3.2. Image Aberrations
        3.2.1. Spherical Aberration
        3.2.2. Coma
        3.2.3. Astigmatism
        3.2.4. Curvature of Field
        3.2.5. Distortion
        3.3. Chromatic Aberrations
              3.3.1. Longitudinal Chromatic Aberration 
              3.3.2. Lateral Color
        3.4. Presentation of Image Aberrations with Spot Diagrams
        3.5. Scaling Optical Systems
        3.6. Concluding Remarks
    Chapter 4 The Newtonian Telescope
        4.1. Introduction
        4.2. The Spherical Mirror
        4.3. The Paraboloidal Mirror 
        4.4. The Size of the Secondary Mirror 
    Chapter 5 The Refractor
        5.1. Correction of Aberrations
        5.2. Residual Aberrations in Objective Lenses 
              5.2.1. Chromatic Aberration
              5.2.2. Spherical Aberration and Spherochromatism 
        5.3. Evaluation of Lens Objectives 
    Chapter 6 The Cassegrain Telescope 
        6.1. Introduction
        6.2. Curvature of Field 
        6.3. Optical Performance 
        6.4. Baffling
    Chapter 7 The Schmidt Camera 
        7.1. Introduction
        7.2. Optical Principles 
        7.3. The Schmidt Corrector
        7.4. Characteristics of the Schmidt Camera  
        7.5. Results of Optical Ray Tracing 
        7.6. The Field-Flattened Schmidt Camera
        7.7. The Lensless Schmidt
    Chapter 8 The Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope
        8.1. General Classification 
        8.2. Treatment of Systems 
        8.3. "Visual" Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope
        8.4. Close Focusing in the SCT 
        8.5. Flat-Field Schmidt-Cassegrain Systems 
        8.6. Computer-Aided Design 
    Chapter 9 The Maksutov Camera 
        9.1. Introduction 
        9.2. Maksutov Camera Designs
        9.3. The Optimum Meniscus Corrector
    Chapter 10 The Maksutov-Cassegrain Telescope
        10.1. Introduction 
        10.2. Maksutov-Cassegrain Systems 
        10.3. Meniscus Correctors
        10.4. Curved- and Flat-Field Maksutov-Cassegrain
    Chapter 11 The Schiefspiegler 
        11.1. Introduction 
        11.2. Optical Principles of Schiefspieglers 
        11.3. Results of the Optical Ray Tracing 
    Chapter 12 Other Compound Systems
        12.1. Introduction
        12.2. Full-Aperture Correctors: Schmidt Derivatives  
        12.3. Full-Aperture Correctors: Houghton Derivatives  
        12.4. Focal Correctors: Jones, Bird, and Brixner 
        12.5. Unusual Compound Systems  
        12.6. Gregorians, Relay Telescopes, and Wright's Off-Axis Catadioptric
    Chapter 13 Field Correctors 
        13.1. Introduction 
        13.2. The Single-Lens Field Flattener   
        13.3. The Distant Field Flattener
        13.4. Field Correctors for Newtonians 
    Chapter 14 Focal Extenders and Reducers
        14.1. Focal Extenders
        14.2. Focal Reducers
        14.3. Remarks on Achromatic Combinations  
    Chapter 15 Eyepieces for Telescopes  
        15.1. Introduction 
        15.2. Eyepiece Types 
        15.3. Aberrations and Other Eyepiece Characteristics 
        15.4. Ray-Tracing Eyepieces 
        15.5. Ray-Trace Results for Eyepieces 7 
        15.6. Eyepieces Used for Projection 
        15.7. The Performance of Objective-Eyepiece Combinations 
              15.7.1. Introduction
              15.7.2. Astigmatism and Field Curvature 
              15.7.3. Accommodation of the Eye
              15.7.4. Analyzing Objective-Eyepiece Combinations
              15.7.5. Combinations Examined 
              15.7.6. Results of Ray Tracing 
              15.7.7. Discovering Favorable Objective-Eyepiece Combinations
    Chapter 16 Deviations, Misalignments and Tolerances 
        16.1. Introduction 
        16.2. Surface Accuracy
        16.3. Deviations and Misalignment 
        16.4. Influence of Deviations and Misalignments
        16.5. Tolerance Analysis 
        16.6. Correcting Manufacturing Deviations
    Chapter 17 Resolution, Contrast, and Optimum Magnification 
        17.1. Introduction 
        17.2. Resolving Point Sources
        17.3. Resolving Power and Contrast for Extended Objects
        17.4. Contrast Transfer in a Perfect Optical System
        17.5. Contrast Transfer for Imperfect Optical Systems
        17.6. Central Obstructions
        17.7. Obstructed Telescopes for Visual Use
        17.8. Residual Aberrations
        17.9. The Value of the Contrast Transfer Function
        17.10. Optimum Magnification 
    Chapter 18 Opaquing and Vignetting
        18.1. Introduction 
        18.2. Baffles for Refractors and Newtonians  
        18.3. Baffling for Cassegrain Telescopes 
        18.4. Stops and Vignetting 
        18.5. Internal Reflections in Catadioptric Systems
        18.6. Lens Coatings
    Chapter 19 Optical Calculations
        19.1. Introductory Remarks to Chapters 20 and 21
        19.2. Methods of Optical Calculation
        19.3. Optical Surfaces 
              19.3.1. Conic Sections
              19.3.2. Higher-Order Surfaces 
        19.4. Sign Conventions
        19.5. The Paraxial Calculation 
        19.6. The Seidel Calculation
        19.7. The Meridional Calculation 
        19.8. The Skew-Ray Trace
              19.8.1. Introduction 
              19.8.2. Flat Surfaces 
              19.8.3. Spherical Surfaces 
              19.8.4. Conic Sections 
              19.8.5. Higher-Order Surfaces 
        19.9. Calculation of Non-Centered Systems 
        19.10. Using Ray-Trace Results 
              19.10.1. Magnitude of the Image Aberrations
              19.10.2. Determining the Diameters of Optical Elements 
        19.11. Other Optical Calculations
    Chapter 20 Designing Telescope Optical Systems 
        20.1. Introduction 
        20.2. Designing a Cassegrain
        20.3. Designing a Catadioptric Cassegrain
        20.4. Designing a Schmidt-Cassegrain
        20.5. Designing a Houghton-Cassegrain   
        20.6. Designing a Maksutov-Cassegrain   
        20.7. Designing Single-Mirror Catadioptrics (Astrocameras)
        20.8. Designing Schmidt and Wright Cameras
        20.9. Designing a Houghton Camera 
        20.10. Designing a Maksutov Camera 
        20.11. The Shape of the Schmidt Corrector 
        20.12. Optimization Techniques
        20.13. Designing a Two-Element Refractor Objective
              20.13.1. Introduction
              20.13.2. Doublet Design Procedure
              20.13.3. Achromatizing a Doublet Lens
              20.13.4. Correcting Spherical Aberration 
              20.13.5. Correcting Coma
              20.13.6. Reducing Spherochromatism 
        20.14. Other Degrees of Freedom
        20.15. An Alternate Method of Designing a Doublet 
        20.16. Designing a Three-Element Apochromatic Refractor Objective
        20.16.1. Choosing Glass for a Triplet
        20.16.2. The Powers of the Elements 
        20.16.3. Designing a Triplet 
        20.16.4. Examples of Triplets 
        20.17. Thick Optical Elements 
    Chapter 21 How to Use the Telescope Design Programs 
        21.1. Capabilities 
        21.2. Designing telescopes with TDESIGN
        21.2.1. Designs Available with TDESIGN 
        21.2.2. Using TDESIGN
        21.3. Lens Design with LENSDES
              21.3.1. Designing Lenses
              21.3.2. Using LENSDES
              21.3.3. Doublet Design with LENSDES
              21.3.4. Triplet Design with LENSDES
              21.3.5. Rescaling Doublet and Triplet Designs
        21.4. The Telescope Optics Ray Tracing Program 
              21.4.1. Using RAYTRACE 
         Key Commands 
         Loading and Saving Design Files 
         Creating a New Design
         Examining an Optical System 
              21.4.2. Vignetting Calculations 
              21.4.3. Tilted and Decentered Surfaces 
              21.4.4. Notes on Vignetting Computations 
              21.4.5. Data Input Exercises
        21.5. Optimizing Predesigns from TDESIGN
              21.5.1. The Wright Design 
              21.5.2. The Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope 
              21.5.3. The Houghton Camera 
              21.5.4. The Houghton-Cassegrain Telescope
              21.5.5. The Maksutov Camera
              21.5.6. The Maksutov-Cassegrain Telescope
              21.5.7. Automatic Optimizations
    Appendix A - Optical Glass Specifications

We are constantly checking the accuracy of the technical data. We are prepared to provide more detailed information on request. Technical data is subject to change without notice.

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