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Levenhuk.com » Good to know » How to use a telescope

How to use a telescope

opera glassesAmateur astronomy is an exciting yet difficult hobby. The evidence from practice shows that many people become frustrated in astronomy observations during the first days after purchasing a telescope. That only happens because they fail to set up and use the telescope properly.

If you have not acquired a telescope yet, we recommend that you read frequently asked questions or contact shop assistants in our online store. It will be useful to decide on a model you would like to purchase. If you already own a telescope, go to the next step.

Use of any telescope starts with assembly. Video manuals on Youtube can be really helpful. The main principle is to first install the tripod, then fix the mount on it, then adjust the optical tube to the mount, and finally, install the accessories. After assembly is done, it is time to ask a question: “How do I set up a telescope?”

Setting up a telescope for the first time

If you have a telescope on an equatorial mount, it has to be balanced before observing. You do not have to balance a telescope on an alt-azimuth mount.

The next step is setting up a finder scope. This accessory is installed on the optical tube and it is necessary for searching the objects for observation. You see, the telescope features significant magnification and, therefore, a narrow field of view. It is difficult to find a little star on the skyline, especially without prior practice. The finder scope is a telescope in reverse. It has low magnification power and a wide field of view. That is why it is used for orienting on the starry sky. The finder scope is set up beforehand. The aim of set up is to place the finder scope parallel to the optical tube so that the telescope and the finder scope are placed accurately in the same direction. To achieve this, use special adjustment screws on the finder scope. Turn them, check with the image in the telescope and strive to achieve a full image coincidence.

So, the finder scope is set up. It is still too early to look at the sky. It is better to observe familiar terrestrial objects first. Install the eyepiece with long focal length (it has small magnification), point the telescope tube to the nearest building (not to the windows, but to the building itself) and try to focus the telescope. Trust us, this seemingly simple operation will take a lot of time for the first time. However, after spending several hours studying a well-known object, you will better understand the opportunities of your telescope. Change an eyepiece, try to install a Barlow lens or a diagonal mirror, and then focus the telescope again. After you practice and understand how the telescope works, you can go to your first astronomy observations.

Learn more about how to use a telescope and start exploring space in this article.

January 2018

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