Maximizing Telescope Sensitivity: The Importance of Mirror Size

In summary, the sensitivity of a telescope is directly related to the size of its mirror, meaning that a bigger mirror allows for higher resolution and the ability to see more detail at greater distances. This also means that a larger mirror can collect more light, allowing for the observation of dimmer stars that would otherwise be unseen. However, regardless of the size of the telescope, there is still a limiting magnitude for that particular size. This is also true for the Hubble Space Telescope, which has a limiting magnitude of M 28. When considering extended objects, such as nebulae or planets, the f/number of the telescope is the important parameter.
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Erenjaeger
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A telescopes sensitivity, or how much detail it can see is directly related to the size of the mirror area that collects light from the objects being observed. So a bigger mirror means higher resolution so you can see more detail at greater distances right? does it also mean it can collect more light so it will be able to see dimmer stars that wouldn't usually be able to be seen??
 
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Erenjaeger said:
So a bigger mirror means higher resolution so you can see more detail at greater distances right?

yes

Erenjaeger said:
does it also mean it can collect more light so it will be able to see dimmer stars that wouldn't usually be able to be seen??

and again yes, tho regardless of the size of the scope, it will still have a limiting magnitude for that particular size
 
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davenn said:
tho regardless of the size of the scope, it will still have a limiting magnitude for that particular size

for example my 9.25 inch mirror scope has a limiting magnitude of M 14.4
one link on the www told ne that for the Hubble Space Telescope is about M 28Dave
 
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Erenjaeger said:
does it also mean it can collect more light so it will be able to see dimmer stars that wouldn't usually be able to be seen??

If you are talking just about stars, then yes, the size of the mirror is the limiting factor. If you are talking about extended objects (nebula, planets) then the f/number is the important parameter.
 

1. What is the relationship between mirror size and telescope sensitivity?

The larger the mirror size, the greater the telescope sensitivity. This is because a larger mirror can collect more light, allowing for fainter objects to be detected and observed.

2. How does mirror size impact the resolution of a telescope?

A larger mirror also leads to better resolution, as it can capture more fine details and distinguish between objects that are close together. This is important for studying objects that are smaller or farther away.

3. Is there a limit to how large a telescope mirror can be?

Yes, there are practical and technological limitations to the size of telescope mirrors. Currently, the largest telescope mirrors are around 10 meters in diameter. Beyond this size, it becomes difficult to construct and maintain a stable and precise mirror.

4. How does the sensitivity of a telescope affect the types of objects it can observe?

A more sensitive telescope can observe fainter objects, such as distant galaxies and stars. It can also study objects in more detail, such as detecting the presence of planets around other stars. Therefore, the sensitivity of a telescope greatly expands the range of objects that can be studied.

5. Are there other factors besides mirror size that can impact the sensitivity of a telescope?

Yes, there are other factors that can influence the sensitivity of a telescope, such as the quality of the mirror's surface, the design of the telescope's optics, and the efficiency of its detectors. These factors must also be carefully considered and optimized to achieve maximum sensitivity.

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