Telescope vs Periscope Comparison

Telescopes and periscopes are optical instruments used to view objects that we cannot see with the naked eye. Telescopes allow us to view extremely distant objects within your line of sight. Periscopes are used to view objects not directly in your line of sight and have much weaker magnification.

When Should You Use Telescopes vs Periscopes?

Telescopes are primarily used for astronomy. Therefore, they provide the clearest view at night, while viewing celestial bodies. Periscopes are used to see over or around an obstacle for a number of reasons. These include trench warfare, submarine navigation, and viewing nuclear reactions. 

What’s the Difference Between Telescopes and Periscopes? 

Unlike periscopes, telescopes invert your vision, flipping your view upside down. While this typically isn’t an issue when stargazing, it may be confusing for beginners locating celestial bodies. Periscopes display an undistorted view from the top mirror so you can see beyond your field of view.

How are Telescopes and Periscopes Similar?

While these optical instruments are very different, they use similar processes to display your view. Both telescopes and periscopes use mirrors to reflect an image. The mirrors in a periscope are angled at 45 degrees to allow you to see from another perspective. The mirrors in telescopes collect and focus light to magnify your view. Some telescopes, like the Newtonian telescope, also use angled mirrors to display the image perpendicular to the eyepiece.

Magnification of Telescope vs Periscopes

Telescopes have significantly stronger magnification because they are used to view objects at extreme distances. This can range from less than 30x to more than 90x. Basic periscopes are used to see around an object, so they typically don’t magnify your view. However, some periscopes have a telescopic optical, which allows you to increase the magnification.