The following are lists of devices categorized as types of telescopes or devices associated with telescopes. They are broken into major classifications with many variations due to professional, amateur, and commercial sub-types. Telescopes can be classified by optical design or mechanical design/construction. Telescopes can also be classified by where they are placed, such as space telescopes. One major determining factor is type of light, or particle being observed including devices referred to as "telescopes" that do not form an image or use optics. Some telescopes are classified by the task they perform; for example Solar telescopes are all designs that look at the Sun, Dobsonian telescopes are designed to be low cost and portable, Aerial telescopes overcame the optical shortcomings of 17th-century objective lenses, etc.
Optical telescopes can be classified by three primary optical designs (refractor, reflector, or catadioptric), by sub-designs of these types, by how they are constructed, or by the task they perform. They all have their different advantages and disadvantages and they are used in different areas of professional and amateur astronomy.
|Refracting telescopes (Dioptrics)||Reflecting telescopes (Catoptrics)
||Catadioptric telescopes (Catadioptrics)
||Telescopes classified by the task performed|
Optical and other types of telescopes are mounted on different types of mounts.