Instruments: Telescopes Would Be Useless Without Them

Though instruments are not as well-known as the telescopes that use them, telescopes would be useless without them. A telescope gathers and focuses light so that it can be fed into an instrument that will do specific things to that light. What happens to the light once it enters the instrument depends on what types of cosmic questions the instrument was designed to study. When beginning an observing project, an astronomer chooses which instrument will work best. Often scientists build new instruments specifically for their research. McDonald Observatory has many instruments, most of which are designed to fit onto a particular telescope.

Here are some of the research instruments currently in use at McDonald Observatory: