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16-inch Telescopes (406mm)

What is a 16-inch telescope?

A 16-inch telescope, also known as a 16-inch reflector or Ritchey-Chrétien telescope, is a large optical instrument designed for astronomical observations in the visible and near-infrared regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. The primary purpose of a 16-inch telescope is to collect light, allowing for the observation of faint and distant celestial objects. It is larger in size and offers better performance in terms of light-gathering ability and resolution compared to smaller telescope sizes such as 6-inch or 10-inch telescopes.

The aperture of a 16-inch telescope is approximately 40.64 cm (16 inches), which allows for higher resolution and the ability to observe smaller details in the objects being viewed. The focal length of a 16-inch telescope is significant in determining the magnification of the telescope, with longer focal lengths resulting in higher magnification capabilities. The typical field of view for a 16-inch telescope is around 4.8 degrees, providing a wide range of celestial objects that can be observed at once.

The weight of a 16-inch telescope can vary, but a general estimate would be around 100-150 pounds (45-90 kg). The light-gathering power of a 16-inch telescope is approximately 1,024 times that of the human eye, allowing for clear and detailed images of distant objects. The magnification power of a 16-inch telescope is around 200x, significantly higher than that of the human eye.

What is a 16-inch refractor telescope?

A 16-inch refractor telescope is a high-quality optical instrument that gathers a significant amount of light due to its large aperture, providing bright and clear images of celestial objects. Its 16-inch aperture also enables high resolution, making it suitable for observing faint objects such as distant galaxies and nebulae. The focal length of a 16-inch refractor telescope is approximately 160 inches (3-4 meters), offering high magnification capabilities for detailed observations. The tube of a 16-inch refractor telescope houses and protects the optical components, maintaining proper alignment and impacting the overall size and portability of the telescope. Equipped with high-quality glass and apochromatic lenses, a 16-inch refractor telescope provides sharp and detailed images, making it an excellent choice for both amateur and professional astronomers. The telescope typically requires accessories such as eyepieces, finderscope, and additional lenses or filters to enhance the viewing experience, and is often mounted on an equatorial mount for smooth and precise tracking. Overall, a 16-inch refractor telescope is a versatile instrument with a wide range of applications, including deep-sky imaging, wide-field observing, and terrestrial/night sky observing. Its advanced technology and high-quality construction make it a valuable tool for astronomical observation and scientific research.

What is a 16-inch reflector telescope?

A 16-inch reflector telescope is a powerful optical instrument designed for observing faint celestial objects that are beyond the reach of the naked eye. It achieves this by collecting and focusing incoming light using mirrors, specifically a primary mirror to gather light and a secondary mirror to redirect and focus it towards the eyepiece. The telescope’s 16-inch aperture is a key feature, allowing it to gather significantly more light than smaller telescopes, with a light-gathering power approximately 16 times greater than a 6-inch telescope. This increased light collection results in better resolution and the ability to see fainter objects in the night sky.
The focal length of a 16-inch reflector telescope is approximately 2000mm, signifying a long focal length that enables high magnification and detailed observation of distant celestial objects. The telescope’s ideal focal ratio typically falls between f/4 to f/8, striking a balance between light-gathering ability and image sharpness.
A 16-inch reflector telescope weighs around 200 pounds, with a tube that houses the primary and secondary optics, maintains alignment, and protects the optical elements. The telescope’s field of view can vary depending on the eyepiece used but typically does not exceed 10 degrees, providing a narrow yet detailed view of the night sky.
Essential accessories for a 16-inch reflector telescope include a DSLR-to-telescope adapter, eyepieces for adjusting magnification, a mount or base for stability, a collimator for aligning the optics, a finderscope for locating celestial objects, and a dew shield to prevent condensation on the optics.
The telescope is typically mounted on an equatorial mount, allowing for precise tracking of celestial objects as they move across the sky. With a maximum magnification power of around 800x, a 16-inch reflector telescope offers detailed views of planets, stars, and deep-sky objects.
A 16-inch reflector telescope boasts a substantial 16-inch primary mirror, allowing it to gather an impressive amount of light, over 2,400 times the light-gathering capacity of the human eye. With a focal length of 1,826 mm, this telescope excels at providing high magnification, making it ideal for intricate observations of planets, lunar landscapes, and deep-sky objects. The maximum practical magnification of a 16-inch reflector telescope can reach up to 800x, enabling exceptionally detailed examinations of celestial objects. Due to its large aperture, a 16-inch reflector telescope gathers four times as much light as an 8-inch and over 16 times as much light as a 4-inch telescope, making it perfect for deep-space viewing, astrophotography, and stargazing. 16-inch Dobsonian telescopes, a type of reflector telescope, typically range between $3,000 to $5,000, offering far more detail and easy collimation compared to their smaller-aperture counterparts. Despite their large aperture, 16-inch Dobsonian telescopes are lighter than other telescopes in the 16-inch collection, making them more portable.

What space objects can you see with a 16-inch telescope?

With a 16-inch telescope, you can see very faint distant objects due to its large aperture and light gathering power. You can also see significant surface detail on Mars, the Encke division in Saturn’s rings, Neptune’s moon Triton, and split double stars as close as half an arcsecond. The larger aperture of a 16-inch telescope also allows you to see stars to magnitude 14.5 and almost entire NGC and IC objects. The visibility of these space objects is influenced by factors such as surface brightness, angular size, and distance from Earth.

Types & Technical Specifications of 16-inch Telescopes


  • Modified Schmidt Cassegrain: Example: Meade 16 LX 600 ACF f/ 8
  • Ritchey-Chretien Astrograph Telescope:  Example: Ioptron 16 iOptron Truss Tube 
  • Truss Tube Dobsonian:  Example: Hubble Optics Ultra Lite

Common Technical Specifications

Aperture: 406 mm (16″)

Camera/Eyepiece Connection: 2″ nosepiece

Focal Length: 1800mm (Sky-Watcher 16″) -4064mm (Meade LX200-ACF 16″)

Focal ratio: f/10- f/4.43

Tube Weight: 67lb-92.6 lbs

Magnification: 810x -960x

Light Gathering Power: 3364x- 4318x

Images taken with 16-inch telescopes

Examples of 16-inch telescopes

  • Sky-Watcher 16″ GoTo Collapsible Dobsonian Telescope
  • TPO 16″ Truss Tube f/8 Ritchey Chretien Reflecting OTA Telescope
  • Meade LX200-ACF 16″ UHTC OTA
  • Meade LX600 16″ F/8 ACF Optical Tube Assembly
  • Explore Scientific 16″ Truss Tube Dobsonian- F/4.5
  • iOptron 16-Inch f/8 Ritchey Chretien Reflecting OTA Telescope
  • TPO 16″ Truss Tube f/8 Ritchey Chretien Reflecting OTA Telescope

How does a 16-inch telescope compare to other size telescopes

16-inch vs 17-inch telescopes

The only 17-inch telescope is the most commercial PlaneWave 17″ CDK Telescope with Fused Silica Mirror. On average 16-inch telescopes vary in focal length from 1800-4064mm and focal ratio from f/10-f/4.43, while 17-inch telescopes have a focal length of 2939mm and a focal ratio of 2939 mm. Besides, 16-inch telescopes cannot remove off-axis astigmatism and field curvature whereas 17-inch telescopes can eliminate them completely.

16-inch telescope17-inch telescope
Aperture16-inch (406 mm)17-inch (432 mm)
Focal Ratiof/10- f/4.43f/6.8
Focal Length1800-4064 mm2939 mm
Image QualityNo coma, but cannot eliminate off-axis astigmatism and field· curvature.No coma, no off-axis astigmatism, and field curvature.

16-inch vs 18-inch telescopes

16-inch telescopes vary in focal ratio from f/10-f/4.43 and focal lengths from 1800mm -4064mm whereas an 18-inch scope has a 1900mm focal length with f/4.2 focal ratio. Besides, the price of the 18-inch scope is more than double the price of the 16-inch scope. The highest magnification of an 18-inch scope is 914x which can vary in a 16-inch telescope from 810x-960x.

16-inch telescopes18-inch telescope
Aperture16-inch (406 mm)18-inch (457.2 mm)
Focal Ratiof/10- f/4.43f/4.2
Focal Length1800-4064 mm1900 mm
Highest Magnification810-960x914x

16-inch vs 20-inch telescopes

20-inch telescope has 100mm more aperture than the 16-inch scope, which means it has more light gathering power than the 16-inch. Besides, the 20-inch scope has a focal length of 1826 mm (f/3.6) whereas 16-inch telescopes vary in focal length from 1800-4064mm (f/10- f/4.43). But amazingly, the price range is similar. The highest magnification of a 20-inch scope is 1,000x which can vary in a 16-inch telescope from 810x-960x.

16-inch telescope20-inch telescope
Aperture16-inch (406 mm)20-inch (508 mm)
Focal Ratiof/10- f/4.43f/3.6
Focal Length1800-4064 mm1826 mm
Highest Magnification810-960x1,000x

16-inch vs 22-inch telescopes

22-inch telescope provide far better quality images of night sky objects than the 16-inch ones. But amazingly you can have a 22-inch scope at the same price range of an expensive 16-inch telescope and get great views. Besides, the 22-inch scope has a focal length of 2337 mm (f/4.2) whereas 16-inch telescopes vary in focal length from 1800-4064mm (f/10- f/4.43).

16-inch telescope22-inch telescope
Aperture16-inch (406 mm)22-inch (558.8 mm)
Focal Ratiof/10- f/4.43f/4.2
Focal Length1800-4064 mm2337 mm

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