Ever want to know more about the night sky? A telescope is the perfect way to expand your horizons! If you should find a telescope under the tree this year, keep these tips in mind to get the most out of your viewing time.
Don’t ever look at the sun through your telescope. You can permanently damage your eyes to the point of blindness. There are special filters available for viewing the sun that must be used for this activity.
Try to travel outside of the range of city lights for the best viewing experience. Air pollution can also inhibit good viewing, so head for a site with higher elevation. Set your telescope on flat ground and away from buildings and any heat source. Make sure that the site you choose is not subject to vibration, avoiding sites such as a deck or rooftop. Don’t try to observe through a window.
Check the weather forecast before you head out. Choose a night with little or no wind. You can observe even on a night with some cloud cover, but avoid heavy clouds with little breaks in them. Try to observe objects as they cross the highest point in the sky. This way you will avoid interference from the horizon’s atmosphere. The later into the night you observe, the better. Try the very early morning for great viewing conditions.
To get the most out of your viewing time, have the right equipment. In addition to a quality telescope, have a star chart, a selection of eyepieces and filters, and know how to use all the parts of your telescope. Always observe with both eyes open. If this is difficult for you, use your hand to cover the eye that is not looking through the telescope.
It’s always fun to learn something new! At the Presbyterian Apartments I & II in Northport, Alabama, we love to provide you with fun, thought-provoking facts that will make you reflect on different aspects of life.