Getting the most out of your telescope

Posted on 08 Oct 13:41

Getting the most out of your telescope.

Many of us enjoy star gazing at night and have purchased a small telescope to enjoy the experience just that little bit more. Often these spyglass telescopes end up gathering dust in the bottom of a cupboard in our homes because we do not really know how to use them correctly. Here is a guide on how to get the most out of your telescope and how to enjoy it.

Learn the night sky.

Whether you live in the northern or southern hemisphere, there are many stars that are visible at night. Most people only tend to know a few constellations and don’t go much further than that. Look online or head to your local library and brush up on your knowledge on the heavenly bodies. This will make your star gazing much more enjoyable as you are able to find and identify the constellations you recognize.

Join a telescope or astronomy club.

There are many star gazing and astronomy clubs worldwide. Joining one of these will not only put you in touch with knowledgeable people who can help with telescope setup and constellation finding, but will also put you together with fellow enthusiasts to share your experience with.

Watch the stars from the right location.

Location is everything when star gazing. Keeping away from Earth generated light sources is important as the light emitted by cities can wash out the light of distant stars. Another thing to consider is weather conditions. If you live near the sea, you will often see a slight mist in the air. This mist can affect the operation of your telescope device in much the same way as a cloudy night can, albeit to a lesser degree.

Get the right telescope.

Nothing can be more frustrating than trying to peer through the eyepiece of a bad or damaged telescope lens. Ensure that you have the telescope you need for what you want to learn or achieve. If the aim is to learn the night sky and not focus on individual constellations or planets (or moons for that matter), a smaller spyglass telescope or a small tripod mounted telescope with a wide focal angle might be what you need. If you intend to study planets and stars that are very far away, as much more powerful and expensive telescope is required.

Other uses for your telescope.

When you experience bad weather with a lot of cloud cover or have long sunny days in the summer months, you don’t have to pack the telescope away. It can be used for bird watching, whale watching (if you are near the ocean) and other interesting outdoor activities. Bird watching can be difficult with a narrow focal angle telescope as they move around a lot, but the level of detail you will see from a long distance will be worth it.