Caring for your telescope
General Maintenance and Storage of your Telescope
Cleaning your telescope can break it if you are not careful. Follow these steps and your investment will show you the universe for years.
General Maintenance and Storage
- Store your telescope under a hood when not using it.
- Keep your telescope and eyepiece lens caps on when not in use.
- Store your telescope facing down.
- Store extra piece and lenses in sealed plastic containers.
- Never touch the lens or mirrors with your fingers. The dirt and oil on your skin will ruin them.
- Clean any touched surfaces immediately but remember that cleaning can scratch those surfaces too. It is best to avoid touching them in the first place.
- Store it in a dry and cool place.
Cleaning your telescope’s mirrors
- Remove any jewellery. They can cause scratches if they come in contact with the surface.
- Clean out and layer your kitchen sink with a towel
- Fill the sink with lukewarm water with a little detergent
- Place the mirror and clean it with sterile cotton
- Drain the sink and rinse the mirror with de-mineralized or distilled water
- Remove the mirror and place it on a folded towel and let it air dry.
Eyepieces and Accessories
- Clean your eyepieces with a blower brush or bulb
- Don use air canisters or blow dust off with your mouth
- Brush dirt off with a soft camel hair brush
- Store everything in separate sealed containers
- Newtonian telescope mirrors gradually grow dull through normal wear and tear. Collimation tunes them back into shape them. It is a simple process that adjusts the mirror’s angle to bring out the best views possible.
- First, get yourself a telescope collimation kit. These kits show your how to align the mirror taking out the guesswork. Be careful though, there are some cheap ones out there that can get misaligned themselves.
- The next step is to know your telescope. You should know every component and where they are inside your ‘scope, especially the primary and secondary mirrors and the eyepiece. It is these three pieces that you need to adjust to collimate your telescope.
- The primary mirror is the parabolic mirror at the bottom of the tube. All you need to do is center axis of symmetry. You adjust it with the screws that attach the mirror to the telescope’s base.
- The secondary mirror is the small flat mirror that redirects light to your eyepiece. You need to make sure this light is centered.by adjusting the screws on the holder and holder’s brace (called the spider).
- The final piece to adjust is the eyepiece. Center its lens’ axis to collimate.
- The final piece is testing to see if everything worked. Repeat these steps as needed.
How to transport your telescope
Most telescopes are sturdy enough and won’t get damaged if you store them securely during transport. While there are dedicated cases for telescopes, most astronomers get by just fine with any travel bag or suitcase. You will need to disassemble your larger telescopes, but you should be able to fit the smaller ones in one piece in most mid-size cars.