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Telescopes from the Ground Up
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Newton’s reflecting telescope (1668)
Diagram showing the light path in a Newtonian reflector telescope.

Newton used a metal primary mirror to capture light and a secondary mirror to direct the light out the side of the telescope.

Newton avoided the problem of chromatic aberration by using a mirror instead of a lens, but he could not clear up the blurry images caused by the spherical shape of the mirror. This problem, called spherical aberration, occurs in both spherical mirrors and lenses.

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