January 21, 2022

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6 Common Telescope Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

3 min read
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The Milky Way has around 100 billion stars.

If you’re venturing into gazing at the stars, you first must learn how to use telescopes. Shooting objects with telescopes requires a bit of finesse. To that end, you’ll want to know about the most common telescope mistakes so that you can have the best experience possible. 

Here are six common telescope mistakes and how to avoid them:

1. Poor Lighting

If possible, use a red light. This will allow your eyes to adjust to the low light levels and be able to see through the telescope better.

This is important because there are some faint stars and other celestial bodies that are difficult to see. If you see a bright white light, your eyes lose their sensitivity.

2. Wrong Choice in Telescope

There are many different types of telescopes out there. If you’re new to stargazing and don’t know much about the various parts of telescopes and even less about storing a telescope, you shouldn’t go with the biggest and most expensive.

Instead, start off with a telescope that’ll be beginner-friendly. When looking for the best telescopes out there, it isn’t just about the price tag. You also want to take into account its light gathering ability and how comfortable it is to handle.

3. Lack of Temperature Balance

On average, your telescope remains indoors for storage. The temperature between outdoors and indoors is different and it is this difference that can impact your telescope use.

If the temperature of the telescope varies from the temperature of its surrounding environment, this causes turbulence inside. This is even more true if the scope of the telescope is Newtonian or Dobsonian. In turn, this turbulence causes images shot through the telescope to be blurry.

You should expect to let your telescope sit unused anywhere between 30 minutes to up to two hours before you try to use it. The exact amount of time you need to wait will depend upon the temperature difference.

4. Unbalanced Scope

Balancing the scope is a vital step. Doing this helps to facilitate your manipulation of the telescope to get it pointed where you want and assists the mount’s motors.

If the scope isn’t balanced, it can have a negative impact on the motor’s performance, making it struggle to orientate the telescope. In the long term, it can even reduce the overall lifetime of the motor.

5. Too Much Magnification

Many novice astronomers make the mistake of using too much magnification. When you increase magnification, it makes the field of view smaller and the image grows fainter.

Instead, start the telescope off on a lower power setting. Then, slowly increase the power until the star or object is bright and easy to see.

6. Unrealistic Expectations

We’ve all seen the beautiful images of different far-away galaxies and how colorful they can be. When you look through your telescope, it might shock you to discover that what you see doesn’t match those images.

The colors are real and still there, but alas, the human eye is incapable of detecting them all.

Avoid These Common Telescope Mistakes

If you keep these common telescope mistakes in mind, you’ll be sure to enjoy your time star gazing.

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