Go Out:  Look Up!

A Guide to the Sky, Telescopes, and Telescope Programs

Home How a Scope Works Using a Scope Note to Parents Aiming a Scope Using a Finder Eyepieces Using a Zoom Fun Equipment


Note to Parents

The telescope is designed to be "run" by adults.  Do not leave your elementary or middle school child with the telescope unattended.

Here are important things to tell your child about using a telescope:

Never point the scope at the sun.  Never look at the sun through the telescope (it may cause instant blindness)!

The scope is fairly robust, but has sensitive parts:

  • Encourage your child to touch only the focuser knobs and the Navigation Knob at the front of the scope (to aim or guide it).
  • There are some fragile parts (mirrors especially).
  • Try not to bump it too much (the mirrors and finderscope need to maintain a precise alignment).
  • Do not touch the glass in the eyepieces (fingerprints cause blurry images).
  • It's fun to look at the mirror inside the scope, but be careful not to drop anything into the telescope.
  • Don't twist the screws at the end of the scope (they align the mirror within the tube). It is really hard to align the mirrors without a "laser collimator" and practice. 


If this is your first time, familiarize yourself and practice setting up the scope in the daylight.

Dress Warm!  It gets cold sitting still in the dark.

Looking through the scope: it's a skill

  • When looking through the scope, you generally don't need to touch it, except perhaps to steady your head.  Touching the scope tends to push it off target.  You definitely shouldn't have to press your eye against the eyepiece.  It can be hard for very young children to see the target through the eyepiece (it takes some practice).
  • If you or your child wear eyeglass, you may be able to focus the scope with your glasses on.  You may be able to bring the scope to focus with your glasses off.  Do that which feels more comfortable.

If you bump or break something, don't panic.  We expect a certain amount of hardship for the scope as it is used.  Please tell the library upon returning the scope, so that the scope "foster parent" can make adjustments or repairs before the next user's reservation.

Questions or comments? Email:Jeff Martin