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Astronomical Telescopes

UK Infra-Red Telescope on Hawaii
Credit: UKIRT

Astronomers use telescopes to observe planets, stars and galaxies.

They help astronomers do this by collecting more light than the eye can. This means that we can use telescopes to see much fainter objects than is possible with the "naked eye".

They can also let astronomers see more detail, although the atmosphere can make this more difficult.

In the past, telescopes were designed to let the astronomer look through them, but now all professional telescopes have special instruments on them.

Nowadays, we can also make telescopes that can detect kinds of light that the eye cannot see at all such as radio waves or X-rays. Sometimes these telescopes have to be made into satellites and put up above the atmosphere.


Please note that over the weekend of the 26-29th May 2017 we will be switching over to our brand new website - during this time there may be periods where the site is difficult to access, and users will be unable to request observations from the telescope. Please bear with us during this time. All should be back up and running by the 30th May 2017.