maksutov-cassegrain vs schmidt-cassegrain telescope

Maksutov-Cassegrain vs Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescopes

Are you trying to figure out the differences between Maksutov-Cassegrain vs Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes? If so, you have come to the right place. In this guide, we will talk about the different systems that each of these telescopes are based around and how they work. The article will also give you some information on what kind of objects these telescopes can potentially see and their field of view.

Let’s get started!

What Is A Maksutov-Cassegrain Telescope?

The Maksutov-Cassegrain (or MC) telescope is a specific type of telescope that consists of a spherical primary mirror and a smaller secondary mirror. The secondary mirror is located at the back of the telescope; hence, the name “Cassegrain” telescope.

The primary mirror is located at the front of the telescope, so it can reflect and focus light onto a larger secondary mirror. The primary and secondary mirrors are then folded to achieve lower optical path lengths, which results in an increase in an instrument’s focal length.

What Is A Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope?

The Schmidt-Cassegrain is another specific type of telescope; it also consists of two mirrors but in this case, the primary mirror is spherical and the secondary mirror is hyperboloidal.

The Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope is classified as a reflector, just like the Maksutov-Cassegrain; however, it has less than half the mirror surface area. The main advantage of this design is its ability to be lighter in weight and scope of focus.

What Is The Difference Between The Two?

This simple difference in the design leads to different optical systems. One major difference between these two telescopes are that the Maksutov-Cassegrain telescopes have wider fields than Schmidt-Cassegrain’s, giving them sharper images as well as better contrast. In addition, both lenses are less vulnerable to vignetting than Schmidt-Cassegrain’s due to the smaller diameter of a spherical piece of glass.

What Objects Can These Telescopes See?

The Maksutov-Cassegrain is designed primarily for the astronomers who want to be able to see more than one star at a time, as opposed to Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes which are designed for amateur astronomers that like visual observing and sometimes would like to have two objects visible at once. Both systems can only see two stars at once but they do it in different ways. Maksutov-cassegrains are generally considered more flexible in terms of what they can see; it is easier to use them for detailed work.

The Schmidt-Cassegrain can often be used for planetary viewing, but really what it does best is provide a view of the deep sky. Because this type of telescope has a wider field of view, it lends itself better to deep sky seeing than the Maksutov-Cassegrain does.

Due to the different ways both of these telescopes focus light, they are actually different in one other way as well. The Maksutov is designed to provide a sharp image that is focused at the center point of the primary mirror whereas Schmidt-Cassegrains lens has a wider field and does not provide such a focused image.

In addition to these differences, it is very important to remember that either system can be used as long as you know how to use it properly. Both telescopes can be used for visual and deep sky viewing as well as astrophotography.

What Is The Difference In Design Between The Two?

First of all, the Schmidt-Cassegrain was designed by Carl J. Schmidt which makes it a newer system than the Maksutov-Cassegrain. It is a three-mirror optical design that was invented in the early 20th century. It consist of a light gathering main mirror, an imaging secondary mirror and a tertiary mirror that helps to direct the image into the eyepiece.

The spherical primary mirror focuses light differently than the Schmidt-Cassegrain does, this leads to it being considered an older design. The spherical lens is the main optics for the system and this leads to the design being called a catadioptric. The primary mirror is folded to create a compact telescope, which makes it easy to use when using an equatorial mount.

In Conclusion

The Maksutov-Cassegrain has a wider field of view than Schmidt-Cassegrains do because of their different optical designs. Both telescopes can be used for visual and deep sky observing as well as astrophotography. Both are also used by amateurs to take pictures of the in-focus double stars and the surrounding stars.

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