No matter how versatile our dreams were as kids, there was always that little part inside us that fueled our curiosity.
And even now, as adults, some of us still wonder, but what should we explore? While telescopes allow you to have a sneak-peak at planets and their moons, a microscope can take you down to the hidden miniature worlds around you.
But what are the differences between these two devices? Here’s a full comparison of the microscope vs. telescope.
Although you can just have both, the option is not inexpensive. So I’ll guide you in this article on the difference between them, resolving the Microscope Vs Telescope argument.
A telescope is a device designed to collect visible light in such a way that it can appear larger and brighter. Moreover, it’s usually aimed for observing distant stellar objects.
I know, the image of a scientist peeking through a telescope while noting notes is quite tempting. However, this is obviously not a real-life scenario.
On the contrary, the microscope, although also an optical instrument, is used for detecting and studying objects and even living beings whom we can’t observe with the naked eye.
Microscopes are frequently used in laboratories. In addition, there are numerous applications requiring different models, most of which are too advanced for amateur use.
Both the telescope and the microscope are scientific instruments designed to allow us to see beyond our limited human perception.
They also require constant maintenance, from cleaning and upgrading to checking their lenses. In addition, you need to have enough background information to operate both devices.
How Are They Different?
Whether stars and constellations for telescopes, or simple biology and safety regulations for microscopes, they both require different procedures and vary in prices and specialties.
Background Knowledge Needed
Don’t worry, you don’t need to be an astrophysicist to see the Moon’s surface, but you still need to know enough about the constellations and the positions of the stars and planets to know where to look.
Using a telescope without enough background info to build upon usually frustrates most new users. This usually happens when they’re not familiar with the Sky’s layout or the main stars.
It’s also advisable to try binoculars first, as you can use them to see multiple celestial bodies including the moon, Jupiter, and the Orion Nebula.
You can also check star finders such as the Meade Astrofinder for beginners, as there are a lot of software apps that guide you through your exploration.
Maybe it was boring trying to memorize the names and functions of the microscope’s pieces back in the high school labs. However, knowing all parts that constitute your microscope is a must.
This helps you avoid any incorrect ways to use it while aiding you in knowing what maintenance the microscope needs.
The microscope’s most imperative parts are the eyepiece, the illumination factors, and the lenses’ quality.
You can determine the quality of the objective lens by examining the zoom range (or magnification if it’s a compound microscope).
There many types of telescopes, but refractors are the most common among beginners. A refracting telescope is bulkier, and it’s less likely for the lenses to be misaligned.
Moreover, it rarely needs cleaning since the glass surface is almost entirely sealed from the atmosphere.
Another type suitable for amateurs is the reflective telescope (also known as a Dobsonian or Newtonian telescope). This one provides a real-time view of the regions you’re observing.
Unlike the refracting telescopes, the Newtonian ones aren’t subjected to chromatic aberration, as there’s no dispersion in reflected light.
Perhaps the most famous type, the one seen in all labs and back to school ads. The light microscope is the most suitable option for anyone just starting.
Most of them don’t exceed the 1500x in magnification, and I can guarantee you that this enough for exploring as far as the cell and its nucleus.
For deeper and clearer resolutions we usually resort to the electron microscope, reaching magnification powers higher than 200,000x, with very high resolutions as well.
However, an electron microscope is extremely expensive and enormous, fitting a lab rather than your study room.
The focal length and ratio of a telescope, responsible for magnifying and brightening the image. Other important aspects include the chromatic aberration and the aperture, which play an important role in the perceived image’s quality.
You should choose a telescope with more than 2.8 inches (70 mm) aperture. Magnification power shouldn’t indicate the telescope’s bet abilities, as the useful limit for magnification is 50 times its aperture (in inches).
Though its sole job is to magnify, with high resolution, the tiny unseen, its high magnification power doesn’t necessarily imply that you’ll see more or larger.
Most users barely even need a 60x objective lens, since the more you increase the magnification power the less quality the resolution yields.
Both of them are similar in requiring consistency that ensures their lens is always set and cleaned. So as fun as they seem, don’t forget that they both commonly require your time and constant care.
However, they have differences other than their usage including their optical features, and types.
Nevertheless, both instruments are a gateway for exploring marvelous wonders, whether the very big or the invisible little fragments.