1. The refracting telescope employs two lenses to collect, focus and magnify more light than is otherwise possible with just the naked eye. This is the alternative to the reflecting telescope, which uses a system of mirrors to do the same. Refracting telescopes are widely considered to be sturdier and require less maintenance than their mirrored counterparts.
2. A chief reason that refracting telescopes require such little upkeep is that the lenses are fixed in place more firmly, meaning there will be no minor adjustments to be made on a regular basis. Also, although the technology of refracting telescopes is much older, the process is much more refined and therefore more reliable.
3. While you will enjoy the benefits of reliability and low maintenance, the initial cost of refracting telescopes is usually higher. This is because they must be ground and positioned to very precise specifications.
4. Just about every company in optics makes a refracting telescope, but you should especially check out those produced by Celestron, Meade, Zhumell, Orion, and Bushnell. These are excellent consumer brands geared toward the mass market, but many of them also produce institutional quality telescopes for use in observatories.
5. If you're just getting started out in astronomy, we recommend the refracting telescope precisely for the reasons mentioned above. Even after you're sure you want to invest more money in your new hobby, you can buy plenty of accessories such as photography equipment and tripods before you need to upgrade.