If you work in a public planetarium or another type of facility that relies on the precise imagery produced by telescopes, then you may need to consider special ordering the pieces that fit into the telescopes if they become worn or if you want to build a completely new device. The lenses placed within them are vitally important to your work, and the best images are created by aspheric lenses and are not rounded like traditional varieties. However, you will also need to pick out the types of material you want your lenses created out of. Consider the following information to make the best choice.
Traditional telescope lenses are made out of glass, because glass has many optical advantages over other materials. Glass is a material called an amorphous solid. This means that the molecules that make up the glass sit in a fixed position like other solid materials, but the molecules also do not form into a pattern with bonds like other types of solids. This allows the glass to retain some properties of a solid as well as some of a liquid.
The liquid properties include the ability of light to pass through the glass completely. The light is not changed in any way. In other words, the materials in the glass do not absorb any of the energy from the light, and this allows images to come through extremely clear. This clarity may be needed if your job requires you to inspect the detailed surface of the moon or if you need to accurately describe the physical attributes of a new star that has been discovered.
Of course, glass also has its flaws. Glass is an extremely heavy material, and this can cause your telescope to weigh quite a bit. For example, a one inch thick piece of glass will weigh almost 13 pounds per square foot. Since your telescope lenses may be five inches thick or more, then the top part of your telescope is likely to weigh over 50 pounds. This may mean investing in reinforcing steel pieces around the top part of the telescope and supports to help with movements. This may also increase the cost of your telescope and cause difficulties if you frequently need to shift the coordinates of the device.
Polycarbonate is a high-impact resistant plastic that has been used for many years as an alternative to glass. Polycarbonate is often used to cover headlights, to create electronic covers, and to form bullet-proof glass. This means that polycarbonate lenses are almost completely unbreakable. This material may be a great choice if your job allows you to work with children or novices who are interested in exploring the world with smaller handheld telescopes.
Also, for telescopes that are typically moved outdoors and set up in different locations, polycarbonate may be ideal. If you need to use devices during the day, polycarbonate will help to reduce the amount of UV light that passes through the lenses. This can keep your eyes safe from sun damage. Polycarbonate is also lightweight, so it can help to reduce the need for supportive materials along the tops of larger scale telescopes.
Unfortunately, polycarbonate does absorb and reflect some of the light that comes into contact with it. This means that images through the lens will not be as clear and precise. Usually, image distortion will be noted around the sides or the periphery of the viewing area. Also, while polycarbonate will not shatter or break, it can scratch. Scratch resistant coatings are usually added to prevent this, but the coating can wear away over time.
If you need lenses for your work telescopes, then make sure to contact an aspheric lens manufacturer. Make sure to tell the supplier whether you want glass or polycarbonate lenses based on your needs, or ask for advice if you are unsure about the best material. Click for more info on aspheric lenses and suppliers.