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

How: SkyProdigy
Starblast 6i

Using a Telescope

These instructions are appropriate for most telescopes. 

For instructions for the Starblast 6i (Curie's scope) click here.


General Care

Moving and Transporting

Be careful about dropping the scope and dropping things into the tube (the mirror is a glass and subject to chipping and cracking (almost everything else is reasonably robust).

Getting Ready to Observe

Find a good place to set up.  Generally you want a dark place, so that your eyes dark adapt.  A southern view is good.  Make sure your setup area is safe.

Cool Down Period

Note that when taking a scope from a warm building into the cool night air, the images will be somewhat blurry until the mirror (or lens) cools down to match the outside air.


There are a number of parts that come off or go on before observing:

  • Dust Cap will need to be removed
  • Eyepiece may need to go on (if it was removed for transporting).
  • Finder may need to go on (if it was removed for transporting).

When finished these same things must be undone. 

  • Finder may need to be removed (for transporting).
  • Eyepiece may need to be removed (for transporting).
  • Dust Cap will need to be put back on.

Coming Topics:

How to Move/Point the Scope

How to Use the Finder

How to align the Finder (if it is mis-aligned)

How to use the Focuser

How to use a Zoom Eyepiece

How and When to use a Moon Filter

Collimating Mirrors

Note: you shouldn't have to do this for your library scope.  It should have been done for you.  Only do this you can't get stars to focus as points.  Actually, send an email to your library's scope foster parent.

Collimating the mirrors of a reflector takes some tools (at least a Collimation cap (they're available online cheap)) and some practice.  Do a web search on Collimation for info.  One good example of help is at http://www.skyandtelescope.com/howto/diy/3306876.html.  Another is at http://www.tomhole.com/Barlowed Laser.htm.  Another, with references, is http://www.raclub.org/Documents/Programs/Collimating Newtonian Reflectors.pdf.

A collimation cap can be made from an old 35-mm film canister.  Cheshire Collimator cost around $30 new.  Laser collimators cost around $60.

A video on how to use a Laser Collimator is here.


Questions or comments? Email:Jeff Martin