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This free course, Telescopes and spectrographs, looks at how they are designed to improve our ability to observe the universe. You will examine how different technologies have been developed over the last four hundred years to enable us to look deep into space.
After studying this course, you should be able to:
- understand the application of basic principles in geometrical optics
- appreciate the phenomena relating to the wave nature of light.
- Current section: Introduction
- Learning outcomes
- 1 Telescopes
- 1.1 A milestone in the advancement of astronomy
- 1.2 Optical elements
- 1.3 Refracting telescopes
- 1.4 Reflecting telescopes
- 1.5 The characteristics of astronomical telescopes
- 1.6 Telescope mountings
- 1.7 Summary of Section 1 and questions
- 2 Spectographs
- Keep on learning
Study this free course
Enrol to access the full course, get recognition for the skills you learn, track your progress and on completion gain a statement of participation to demonstrate your learning to others. Make your learning visible!
Telescopes and spectrographs
We are used to seeing spectacular astronomical images in the press and on the internet. This course gives an in-depth introduction to two of the most important instruments used to create these images and explore the science behind them – telescopes and spectographs.
This course is drawn from the preparatory work for the practical residential school at the Observatori Astronomic de Mallorca. The course image shows a student at work in one of the telescope domes at the Observatori.
This course is used for training by the Faulkes Telescope Project, http://faulkes-telescope.com/.
This OpenLearn course provides a sample of Level 2 study in.
This free course includes adapted extracts from an Open University course which is no longer available to new students. If you found this interesting you could explore more free Science courses or view the range of currently available OU Science courses.
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Wednesday, 2nd March 2016
Last updated on: Wednesday, 2nd March 2016
- Creative-Commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence. However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions. Full details can be found in the Acknowledgements and our FAQs section.
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