Do you dream of the stars? Maybe you just can’t get enough of those astronauts on CNN, fixing the space station or walking through airless space. You might even own your own telescope with the hopes of seeing or discovering something that no one else has seen. If so, consider the following tips to maximize your experience with your telescope.
First of all, remember that even with telescope use, practice makes perfect. To practice using a telescope, start with utilizing your daytime hours. Pick an object you can easily find, and focus your telescope on it. Using daylight hours to observe objects will help you become familiar with your telescope. Once nightfall hits, try object just the moon at first or a bright star, anything that stands out in the night sky.
Though curiosity may tempt you, never point your telescope near or at the sun. You can instantly cause irreversible eye damage.
Many novices struggle to just find what they are looking for through their telescope. When centering an object in your main telescope, spot your desired object through the viewfinder first. Once you have your object centered through the viewfinder, it will sit somewhere in the main telescope’s field of view.
Once the sun has set and you begin observing low light objects in the sky, don’t worry if they start moving. Because of the earth’s constant rotation, astronomical objects will begin to move slowly through your field of view. As you focus on them with your telescope, slowly move your telescope to follow them. Utilize vertical or lateral movement of your telescope to keep the object in your sites. If you have a higher powered telescope, the object will move more rapidly through your field.
Sometimes you’ll notice that your object will become fuzzy when you increase your magnification. Though you might want to see it more closely, move your magnification to a lower power. The fuzziness indicates that the atmosphere is not steady enough to support the higher power you desire.
Avoid placing telescope on a surface or location where vibrations could disturb your image. For example, viewing objects from the top of a tall building could cause distorted and moving images.
Give your eyes time to acclimate to the dark before you begin any serious observations after sunset. Utilize a red filtered flashlight to maintain some night vision if you need to read star maps or adjust the telescope. You can make one yourself easily by simply taping red cellophane over your flashlight lens.
While viewing from the comfort of a room in your home might seem convenient, it’s not optimal. Instead, utilize open air settings. Place your telescope outside ahead of time to allow it to reach the surrounding temperatures before you start an observation session. If you try to view from inside, the images will appear blurred or distorted thanks to the temperature variances between the inside and outside air.