Telescope Optics: A Comprehensive Manual for Amateur Astronomers Book

Telescope Optics: A Comprehensive Manual for Amateur Astronomers Book

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Model:  willbell_9780943396187
Part Number:  9780943396187

Telescope Optics: A Comprehensive Manual for Amateur Astronomers

Authors: Harrie Rutten and Martin van Venrooij

  • 15.2cm x 22.9cm, 374 pages, hardbound.

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 analysed so that you can easily compare them. What's your dream telescope? This book will help you choose it.

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


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 marvellous 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

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

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Best book on telescope optics
27 June 2018  | 

This is the one and only book to buy to understand the telescope design under the hood. It is widely recommended by amateur astronomy communities. I also recommend his big brother "Star Testing Astronomical Telescopes" for further knowledge extent.


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