Astronomy Laboratory 6 – Optics and Simple Telescopes

Module Introduction

people are shown standing beneath a giant mirrored sphere While looking at their reflections.
“Mirror.globe.arp.500pix” by Arpingstone in the Public Domain

Optics is the study of light and its interaction with various materials, called medium. We are all familiar with optics in the world around us. Whether you wear glasses or not, your eyes are a splendid example of optics.

In order to better understand modern optics such as binoculars, cameras, and telescopes, and how lenses and mirrors work, you will conduct specified experiments with lenses and mirrors in this lab. With the supplied lab kit resource, you will assemble a simple refracting telescope. You will take the telescope outdoors and conduct a series of observations with the simple telescope. (1)


At the end of this module, students will be able to:

  • Describe types of mirrors and lenses, along with their functions
  • Compare and contrast types of mirrors and lenses
  • Assemble a Simple Refracting Telescope
  • Utilize a Simple Refracting Telescope (1)


The material in this module includes content designed to meet the following course outcomes:

  • Communicate scientific ideas through oral or written assignments.
  • Interpret scientific models such as formulas, graphs, tables and schematics, draw inferences from them and recognize their limitations.
  • Demonstrate the ability to think critically.
  • Demonstrate the ability to use scientific and quantitative reasoning. (1)

Assigned Readings

Learning Unit 6


  • Optics and Simple Telescopes Activity
  • Lab 6 Quiz (1)