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Telescopes from the Ground Up
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Spherical aberration in lenses
Diagram demonstrating the multiple focal points caused by spherical aberration in lenses.

Spherically shaped lenses and mirrors share a problem: their shape. Parallel light rays that pass through the central region of a spherical lens focus farther away than light rays that pass through the edges of the lens. The result is many focal points, which produce a blurry image.

Diagram demonstrating the single focal point created by a theoretical perfect lens.

The quest for one and only one focal point

If there were a "perfect" lens, all light rays would be guided through one and only one focal point and the resulting image would be perfectly clear.


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