Telescope Optics

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Telescope Optics

By Harrie Rutten and Martin van Venrooij.
A Comprehensive Manual for Amateur Astronomers.

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 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 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
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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