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Refractor telescopes can usually be distinguished by their long, narrow tubes. They are the telescopes we typically think of when hearing the word telescope and synomymous with the type of telescopes used by sea captains and 'Pirates" of the movies! Caution must be a consideration when buying telescopes from department stores. Do not be tricked by the 'power' or 'magnification' of a telescope and this will be discussed later. Unlike reflectors, refracting telescopes use a series of lenses to focus the image. The weight of the glass lenses, in addition to the length of the tube, limits refractors to small apertures. Refractors with apertures larger than 4 inches can be quite expensive and also quite large and very heavy. These telescopes are almost exclusively used with equatorial mounts. The advantage of the refractor is in its ability to provide a sharp image with a lot of detail. This makes them ideal for lunar and planetary observing and photography. Their small aperture size means they are not quite as well suited for deep-sky observing. For the beginner interested primarily in the planets, they can make a good choice. Due to their design, however, they are much more expensive than their Newtonian reflector counterparts. If you are more interested in galaxies and nebulae, you will probably be better off going with a reflector.