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A telescope's Focal Length is the distance from the primary lens or mirror to the Focal Plane (or where the focal plane would be, in the case where there is also a secondary lens or mirror). The reciprocal of the focal length is called the optical Power. The Focal Ratio (aka F-ratio, or for cameras, the F-stop or F-number) is the ratio of the focal length with the diameter of the Aperture. For cameras, the focal ratio is important for determining the depth of field. For telescopes, it is important for determining the Field of View: other elements being the same, the smaller the focal ratio, the larger the FOV, and telescopes aiming at Surveys often are given short focal ratios (e.g., Schmidt Cameras). The Lensmaker's Formula (or Lensmaker's Equation) allows calculation of the focal length of a lens; 1/f ≈ (n-1)(1/R_{1}+1/R_{2})
A more accurate version, significant if the lens is not thin: 1/f = (n-1)(1/R_{1}+1/R_{2}+(n-1)d/(nR_{1}R_{2}))
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F-number Referenced by: Cassegrain Reflector Focal Plane Plate Scale Schiefspiegler Schmidt Camera Schmidt-Newton Telescope SOFIA |