There are many telescopes, both ground-based and space-based, with a wide range of telescope names. Here are a few of the most well-known telescopes:
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What are the main telescope names on ground and in space?
- Keck Observatory
- Mauna Kea Observatories
- Very Large Telescope (VLT)
- Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC)
- Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT)
- Extremely Large Telescope (ELT) in construction
- Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) in construction
- Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA)
- Large Binocular Telescope (LBT)
- Apache Point Observatory Galactic Evolution Experiment (APOGEE)
- Submillimeter Array (SMA)
- Calar Alto Observatory
- Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA)
- Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO)
- Las Campanas Observatory
- Siding Spring Observatory
- Palomar Observatory
- James Webb Space Telescope (JWST)
- Hubble Space Telescope
- Chandra X-ray Observatory
- Spitzer Space Telescope
- Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP)
- Planck space telescope
- Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope
- Swift Gamma-Ray Burst Mission
- XMM-Newton (X-ray Multi-Mirror Mission – Newton)
- INTEGRAL (International Gamma-Ray Astrophysics Laboratory)
- COBE (Cosmic Background Explorer)
- IRAS (Infrared Astronomical Satellite)
- Akari (Astro-F)
- Euclid Space Telescope
- WFIRST (Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope)
- TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite)
- NICER (Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer)
- RXTE (Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer)
- Suzaku (Astro-E2)
These are just a few examples of telescope names. There are many more telescopes, both large and small, that have been built and are in operation around the world.
What is a ground-based telescope?
A ground-based telescope is a type of telescope that is located on the ground, as opposed to being in orbit around the Earth or in deep space. Unlike space-based telescopes, ground-based telescopes are subject to many more environmental factors that can affect their observations, such as atmospheric turbulence, light pollution, and changes in weather conditions.
Ground-based telescopes work by collecting and focusing light from distant astronomical objects and then directing that light to a detector, such as a camera or spectrograph. The size and design of the telescope’s mirrors or lenses determine the amount of light that can be collected and the level of detail that can be seen in the resulting images.
Ground-based telescopes can be designed to observe specific types of light, such as visible light, infrared light, or X-rays, depending on the scientific goals of the observations. Some of the largest ground-based telescopes, such as the Very Large Telescope (VLT) and the Keck Observatory, have multiple mirrors or lenses that can be combined to create an effective aperture that is much larger than that of a single mirror or lens.
Ground-based telescopes are often located on mountaintops, where the air is thinner and the sky is clearer, to minimize the effects of atmospheric turbulence and other environmental factors that can affect their observations. They are also often operated remotely, with observations being controlled and data being transmitted from a remote location.
What is a space-based telescope?
A space-based telescope is a type of telescope that is placed in orbit around the Earth or in deep space. Space-based telescopes are not subject to many of the environmental factors that affect ground-based telescopes, such as atmospheric turbulence and light pollution, and they can therefore provide much clearer and more detailed observations of astronomical objects, as they can be diffraction-limited.
Space-based telescopes can be designed to observe specific types of light, such as visible light, ultraviolet light, X-rays, or gamma rays, depending on the scientific goals of the observations. Some of the most famous space-based telescopes, such as the Hubble Space Telescope and the Chandra X-ray Observatory, have been designed to observe specific regions of the electromagnetic spectrum and have made many important discoveries about the universe.
Space-based telescopes are usually placed in orbit around the Earth or in deep space using a spacecraft or satellite. They are often operated remotely, with observations being controlled and data being transmitted back to Earth. Space-based telescopes have a limited lifespan, as they are subject to various environmental factors, such as temperature changes and exposure to cosmic radiation, that can affect their performance over time. However, they can provide much more detailed and long-term observations of astronomical objects than ground-based telescopes and have made many important contributions to our understanding of the universe.
Cost of building telescopes
Cost of space-based telescopes
The cost of a space-based telescope can vary greatly, depending on its size, design, and mission goals. Some smaller, more focused missions can cost several hundred million dollars, while larger, more complex missions can cost several billion dollars.
For example, the Hubble Space Telescope, which was launched in 1990, had a total cost of approximately $2.5 billion. The Chandra X-ray Observatory, which was launched in 1999, had a total cost of approximately $1.5 billion. The Spitzer Space Telescope, which was launched in 2003, had a total cost of approximately $820 million.
On the other hand, the James Webb Space Telescope, launched in 2022, has a total cost of over $10 billion. The Euclid Space Telescope, which is set to launch in 2023, has a estimated cost of over $1 billion.
It’s worth noting that these costs not only include the design, construction, and launch of the telescope, but also the mission operations and data analysis that are required to carry out the scientific goals of the mission. Additionally, the cost of launching a space-based telescope can be significantly impacted by factors such as delays in the launch schedule, cost overruns, and changes in the scope of the mission.
Cost of space-based telescopes
The cost of a ground-based telescope can also vary greatly, depending on its size, design, and capabilities. Some smaller, single-dish telescopes can cost several million dollars, while larger, more complex telescopes can cost several billion dollars.
For example, the Large Binocular Telescope in Arizona has a cost of approximately $120 million. The Gran Telescopio Canarias in Spain has a cost of approximately $130 million. The Giant Magellan Telescope in Chile, which is currently under construction, has an estimated cost of over $1 billion.
How many telescopes are in the world?
It is difficult to give a precise number of telescopes in the world, as there are many different types of telescopes, ranging from small amateur telescopes to large professional telescopes, and new telescopes are being built and commissioned all the time.
However, it’s estimated that there are several thousand professional ground-based telescopes in the world, ranging in size from small 0.5 meter telescopes to large 10 meter or larger telescopes. There are also numerous amateur telescopes, both in private hands and at amateur astronomy clubs, that are used for observing the night sky.
In addition to ground-based telescopes, there are also many space-based telescopes in orbit around the Earth or in deep space, including both telescopes that are actively collecting data and those that have been retired or decommissioned. These space-based telescopes are operated by a variety of organizations, including NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Russian Space Agency (Roscosmos).
- NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope website (hubblesite.org) provides a wealth of information about the Hubble Space Telescope, including its history, design, and scientific achievements.
- The Chandra X-ray Observatory website (chandra.harvard.edu) provides information about the Chandra X-ray Observatory, including its history, design, and scientific achievements.
- The Spitzer Space Telescope website (spitzer.caltech.edu) provides information about the Spitzer Space Telescope, including its history, design, and scientific achievements.
- The European Space Agency (ESA) Science & Technology website (sci.esa.int) provides information about various space-based telescopes, including the XMM-Newton X-ray Observatory and the Planck Observatory.
- The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) website (nasa.gov) provides a wealth of information about various space-based telescopes and missions, including the Kepler Space Telescope, the Chandra X-ray Observatory, and the Spitzer Space Telescope.
- The European Southern Observatory (ESO) website (eso.org) provides information about several ground-based telescopes, including the Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile and the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile.
- The Keck Observatory website (keckobservatory.org) provides information about the W. M. Keck Observatory, which is located in Hawaii and consists of two 10-meter telescopes.
- The Gran Telescopio Canarias (GRANTECAN) website (www.gtc.iac.es) provides information about the Gran Telescopio Canarias, which is located in Spain and is one of the largest single-aperture optical telescopes in the world.
- The Mauna Kea Observatories website (www.ifa.hawaii.edu/mko) provides information about several ground-based telescopes located on the summit of Mauna Kea in Hawaii, including the Subaru Telescope, the W. M. Keck Observatory, and the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope.
- The NSF’s NOIRLab (formally named the National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory) website (noirlab.edu) provides information about several ground-based telescopes, including the Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona and the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile.
- This Optodir Market article presents the main differences between reflective and refractive telescopes (optodir.com/refractive-vs-reflective-telescopes/).