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The Maksutov-Cassegrain telescope is very similar to the Schmidt model, but the Maksutov uses mirrors and lenses to condense light and make the tube length less. Maksutov-Cassegrain telescopes tend to be heavier and a bit more costly than the Schmidt varieties, but they produce brighter visual results.
In the Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope the light enters the scope through a thin Schmidt correcting lens, then strikes the primary mirror, then is reflected back up the tube and intercepted by a small secondary mirror which reflects the light out an opening in the rear of the instrument where the image is formed at the eyepiece. They are lighter than Maksutov-Cassegrain models and tend to be less expensive than the Maksutovs. Schmidt-Cassegrains are more popular for astrophotography.
Cassegrain optics are superior to general refractor-type telescopes because they produce more light and visual clarity in a smaller "package." Most top-of-the-line home telescopes use Cassegrain optics for the best results. If you want to do astrophotography then a Cassegrain telescope provides the perfect optics to attach your camera and shoot away.
Cassegrain telescopes literally "bend" the light coming into the telescope by using a series of mirrors, which greatly reduces the length of the scope, and reduces the weight, too. There are several different types of Cassegrain scopes" Schmidt-Cassegrain, Maksutov-Cassegrain, and Schmidt Cameras. Each type produces different results. To find out the differences, read a telescope buying guide, to decide which type of Cassegrain telescope is right for you.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|