A refracting or refractor telescope uses lenses to form an image. They are often the telescope of choice by those who desire text-book quality images of celestial objects. Refractors produce very high-contrast images, and are an excellent choice for visual astronomers and astrophotographers.
Refractors were the earliest type of optical telescope. Like many great inventions, they are thought of by several people at the same time. The first appeared in the Netherland about 1608, and were credited to three individuals, Hans Lippershey, Zacharias Janssen, spectacle-makers in Middleburg, and Jacob Metius. Galileo was in Venice in 1609 and heard of the invention and constructed a version of his own.
Galileo changed the world with his discoveries through his three telescopes, and all were less than 60mm in aperture. It is interesting to note that even the smallest toy telescopes made today outperform Galileo's telescopes.
We have a wide range of refracting telescopes from Explore Scientific, BRESSER, Explore 1, and National Geographic, covering all price ranges and performance levels for the beginner to the advanced expert enthusiast.