Just as our eyes cannot see small objects, so they cannot see things that are very far off. Even when things are millions of miles away, telescopes show them very clearly, The long tubes gather light rays from distant objects and make magnified images of them that seem nearer. Some telescopes use lenses to gather light, while others use mirrors.


A pair of binoculars works like two small telescopes joined together, one for each eye. A gearwheel in the centre of the binoculars alters the distance between the lenses and brings the image in the binoculars into sharp focus.


This small, amateur instrument is called a refracting telescope because the lenses inside it bend or refract light. It is difficult to make large lenses, so refracting telescopes tend to be small and not very powerful. The first refracting telescope was built in 1608 by a Dutch scientist, Jan Lippershey, who lived from about 1570 to 1619.


This is the most powerful type of telescope. It uses mirrors instead of lenses because large mirrors are easier to manufacture than large lenses and make better images. A large, central mirror collects light from a distant object and a smaller mirror reflects the light into the eyepiece.

Copyright © 2007 Dorling Kindersley


Top 2015 Halloween Costumes for Kids
Will your child transform into a dinosaur, a superhero, or the latest Disney princess on October 31? Take a look at 2015's hottest Halloween costumes for boys and girls of all ages!

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!

8 Not-Too-Spooky Halloween Activities for Kids
Halloween can be too scary and gory for preschoolers and kids of all ages. Find non-scary Halloween activities and party ideas that make this creepy holiday more kid-friendly.

Ready for Kindergarten?
Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks