Stargazing is a very relaxing and rewarding activity. You can get to see the stars, the planets, and all its wonders with your own eyes and picture how life beyond Earth really feels like. Are there any alien civilizations out there waiting for us to discover them? Are we alone in the universe? Where does the universe end? How many more planets are there that could support life on them?
Although you may not end up waving to an alien from your scope, you can still see plenty of amazing things if you buy the right one. However, no matter how good your telescope is, you won’t be able to discover much unless you know how to properly use it and store your device.
So, here is a list of the top mistakes people do when using a telescope and how to get past them.
Not knowing what type of telescope you need
Although you can buy a quite decent telescope for less than one hundred dollars, don’t expect to see too much with it. Telescopes for kids also fall into this category not only because they come in smaller sizes, but also because their lenses are of low quality and it is almost impossible to focus well.
Keep in mind that there are three types of telescopes – reflector telescopes, refractor telescopes, and compound telescopes. Each of them has their own benefits and downsides, so it’s important to know just what type of telescope you want.
The reflector telescopes are very affordable items and easy to use as they are mainly designed for beginners. They are perfect if you want to watch the moon and all its phases. Reflector telescopes gather light through a mirror placed at the end of the scope’s tube.
However, the most popular type of telescopes is the refractor telescope. These have a lens attached to the front of the tube and are similar to the ones you usually see in observatories. Thanks to their capacity of gathering light really quickly, they will make the perfect tools to be used no matter the light of the celestial object you are trying to watch. The moon is extremely easy to spot with a refractor telescope as it’s the brightest satellite and the closest one to Earth.
A compound or excellent catadioptric telescope is the one that uses a combination of lens and mirrors to gather light and use it in order to see the stars and the surrounding planets of our Solar System. They are more tricky to use, but they deliver qualitative images to their full brightness.
Not being able to focus
Focusing on a telescope could be a hard thing, especially if you’re not used to the item’s functions and how they properly work. We suggest using the lowest magnification when trying to focus because it’s the easiest one. The moon is the closest thing to Earth, so it will be bright enough to see using a low magnification rate, without a hustle.
Not being able to focus correctly usually happens when dealing with refracting telescopes because you will probably have to bend down or crouch to properly observe objects that are far away in the sky. We suggest getting more experienced with your telescope focuser and use it according to the manual until you get it right. We promise it will be worthed!
Not being realistic with the atmospheric conditions
Expecting to have a clear image of the sky when using your telescope inside is actually one of the most common mistakes people do. So, unless the inside and outside temperatures are quite the same, you won’t be able to see a thing or to focus properly, especially when trying to use an increased magnification.
Usually, the telescope has a higher temperature than what you find outside, especially during the night. So atmospheric conditions can cause a lot of trouble if you don’t handle them like a pro. To have a clear shot of the sky, we suggest taking your telescope outside and let it cool down for at least one hour before using it. Keep the optics covered to avoid condense.
But don’t try to use any other screens while your telescope is cooling down. Most of your smartphones, tablets or laptops use a lot of blue light which is harmful to your night vision. So, if you want to make sure you see everything clear after your telescope is ready to use, try resting for a while. Find a dark spot in your house and sit there for a few minutes. If you don’t have such a place, at least try keeping your eyes closed and rest. This will restore your night vision and help you see improved images of the sky when using your telescope.
Not looking after your scope
Telescopes are really sensitive tools, and they need to be stored properly, especially if you want to use them more than once. Pay attention ever since your product is delivered to not miss any piece or have some of them broken. Check carefully with your instructions manual and build the telescope the best way you can.
Don’t keep the lens or mirrors uncovered when you’re not using the scope because they can easily scratch or experience high-temperature variations which are not good.
Also, it goes without saying that you should carefully and gently handle your telescope. Don’t drop it or push it by any means.