Types of Telescopes The same parabolic shape used for visible light telescopes can also be used for radio telescopes , but since radio wavelengths are larger and easier to catch, we do not need a solid surface (mirror) to reflect them (see Figure 18). Many large radio telescopes can use a wire mesh (basically, chicken wire). This structure has less weight per square meter of light gathering surface, and since metal is easier to shape, radio telescopes are the largest of all the different types of telescopes. If you have satellite television or any one of those dish-tv systems, you have a radio telescope - same design, though in this case you're getting 17 different football games simultaneously as opposed to scientific information. Figure 18. A typical radio telescope. Light is reflected off the curved surface and collected at the receiver at the top. This information is then fed into a computer to produce an image of the sky. Notice that this is not a solid surface, but a wire mesh. Photo by Seth Shostak from the Parkes
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