Optical telescope

The equation shows that, all else being equal, the larger the aperture, the better the angular resolution. The resolution is not given by the maximum magnification (or "power") of a telescope. Telescopes marketed by giving high values of the maximum power often deliver poor images.

Similar minor effects may be present when using star diagonals, as light travels through a multitude of lenses that increase or decrease effective focal length. The quality of the image generally depends on the quality of the optics (lenses) and viewing conditions—not on magnification.

Magnification itself is limited by optical characteristics. With any telescope or microscope, beyond a practical maximum magnification, the image looks bigger but shows no more detail. It occurs when the finest detail the instrument can resolve is magnified to match the finest detail the eye can see. Magnification beyond this maximum is sometimes called empty magnification.

To get the most detail out of a telescope, it is critical to choose the right magnification for the object being observed. Some objects appear best at low power, some at high power, and many at a moderate magnification. There are two values for magnification, a minimum and maximum. A wider field of view eyepiece may be used to keep the same eyepiece focal length whilst providing the same magnification through the telescope. For a good quality telescope operating in good atmospheric conditions, the maximum usable magnification is limited by diffraction.

Only personal experience determines the best optimum magnifications for objects, relying on observational skills and seeing conditions.

In an eyepiece with a very wide apparent field of view, the observer may perceive that the view through the telescope stretches out to their peripheral vision, giving a sensation that they are no longer looking through an eyepiece, or that they are closer to the subject of interest than they really are. In contrast, an eyepiece with a narrow apparent field of view may give the sensation of looking through a tunnel or small porthole window, with the black field stop of the eyepiece occupying most of the observer's vision.

A wider apparent field of view permits the observer to see more of the subject of interest (that is, a wider true field of view) without reducing magnification to do so. However, the relationship between true field of view, apparent field of view, and magnification is not direct, due to increasing distortion characteristics that correlate with wider apparent fields of view. Instead, both true field of view and apparent field of view are consequences of the eyepiece's field stop diameter.

Apparent field of view differs from true field of view in so far as true field of view varies with magnification, whereas apparent field of view does not. The wider field stop of a wide angle eyepiece permits the viewing of a wider section of the real image formed at the telescope's focal plane, thus impacting the calculated true field of view.

True FOV is the width of what is actually seen through any given eyepiece / telescope combination.

When using a CCD to record observations, the CCD is placed in the focal plane. Image scale (sometimes called plate scale) is how the angular size of the object being observed is related to the physical size of the projected image in the focal plane

The image scale (angular size of object divided by size of projected image) will be

The difference in focal length between paraxial rays and marginal rays, proportional to the square of the objective diameter.
A defect by which points appear as comet-like asymmetrical patches of light with tails, which makes measurement very imprecise. Its magnitude is usually deduced from the optical sine theorem.
The image of a point forms focal lines at the sagittal and tangental foci and in between (in the absence of coma) an elliptical shape.
The Petzval field curvature means that the image, instead of lying in a plane, actually lies on a curved surface, described as hollow or round. This causes problems when a flat imaging device is used e.g., a photographic plate or CCD image sensor.
Either barrel or pincushion, a radial distortion that must be corrected when combining multiple images (similar to stitching multiple photos into a panoramic photo).

Optical defects are always listed in the above order, since this expresses their interdependence as first order aberrations via moves of the exit/entrance pupils. The first Seidel aberration, Spherical Aberration, is independent of the position of the exit pupil (as it is the same for axial and extra-axial pencils). The second, coma, changes as a function of pupil distance and spherical aberration, hence the well-known result that it is impossible to correct the coma in a lens free of spherical aberration by simply moving the pupil. Similar dependencies affect the remaining aberrations in the list.

Comparison of an ideal image of a ring (1) and ones with only axial (2) and only transverse (3) chromatic aberration
Longitudinal chromatic aberration: As with spherical aberration this is the same for axial and oblique pencils.
Transverse chromatic aberration (chromatic aberration of magnification)

Nearly all large research-grade astronomical telescopes are reflectors. Some reasons are:

Comparison of nominal sizes of primary mirrors of some notable optical telescopes

Current research telescopes have several instruments to choose from such as: