The best telescopes for beginners
Have a red light handy
There are two different types of cells in the human eye: cones, which are responsible for color vision, and rods, which are responsible for black-and-white vision in low light. The rods in our eyes are only sensitive to light at a wavelength of about 530 nm, so they are unable to detect all colors in the visible spectrum. As a result, rod cells cannot see longer wavelengths, such as red light which ranges from about 635 to 700 nm. As the longest wavelength seen by cone cells, it is a prime choice for preserving night vision. Only L-type cone cells (detecting red light) contribute to image formation when red light is used. After being exposed to dim light for about 20 minutes, the human body will begin to manufacture a chemical called rhodopsin, enabling the development of night vision. Therefore, to maintain scotopic (night) vision, you need red light.
Choose the best night for stargazing
The weather before, during, and immediately after each new Moon is ideal for stargazing because the Moon will not be visible. The skies are most spectacular on cold, dry winter nights if you can stand the cold. There is also no bright moon to obscure the visibility of the dimmer stars at these times. Thousands of stars will be visible to the naked eye, and the view through a telescope will be much more impressive. Many astronomers speak of an “observing season” that spans the fall, winter, and spring months for optimal stargazing. The period begins with the clocks “falling back” in October (when the evenings lengthen by an hour) and ends with the clocks “spring forward” in March (the nights shorten by an hour).
Do I need a star map to observe the stars?
Yes, you will need to bring a star map so you can use the constellations you spot. You can find anything with a good star map. To get started, you’ll need a basic map of the entire sky that’s easy to follow even with the naked eye and identifies the locations of the brightest stars and constellations as they appear at your time, date, and time. specific local latitudes on Earth. The star wheel (Night Sky Planisphere) is a useful star map because it allows you to adjust the view of the constellation depending on the time of day and the season. Beginner astronomers can also benefit greatly from using a stargazing app to help them find certain stars and constellations. You can just hold your phone and apps will find out where you are.
Make sure your eyepiece is securely attached and in focus
The eyepiece essentially acts as a magnifying glass, allowing you to see details that would otherwise be too small to see. The eyepiece of an ordinary telescope brings the image generated by the objective a few centimeters from the observer. Your stargazing experience will highly depend on how well it is set up, so give it special consideration before using it.
Keep lenses safe and clean
First, you need to clear the surface of any debris that may have landed there. It does not involve blowing on it with your mouth. Instead, try a can of compressed air or a camel hair brush. In order to blow and sweep at the same time, some brushes are equipped with air bulbs. If using a brush, sweep it lightly over the lens in one direction, dusting it with a quick sweep after each stroke. In order to avoid scratching the surface, many amateur astronomers choose to use compressed air instead of a brush. Place the can on its side with the nozzle facing away from the lens, at least as far back as the manufacturer specifies. Some of the propellants may hit the glass surface if the bomb is held too close to it or tilted. It is better to use a series of small puffs of air rather than a long one.
After dusting, use a mild cleanser to remove fingerprints, skin oils, smudges, and any other stubborn dirt. Use lens cleaning solution to moisten a square of sterile surgical cotton or lens tissue. Cotton balls, toilet paper, and store-bought tissues should not be used. And they’re tougher than you think. Gently dab the lens with a piece of cotton wool or lens tissue that has been dampened, not wet. Then you can dry the lens with a piece of lens tissue.
Make sure the mount is secure and balanced before setting up your telescope
You need to make sure your mount is stable before proceeding (often overlooked by beginners). An unbalanced scope will move jerkily, be unstable, and prone to drifting, while a well-balanced scope will move more easily and prefer to stay put until you reposition it. Worse still, the small motors in a motorized scope can overheat and burn out if the scope is not properly balanced, putting additional strain on the gears of the idle controls. Because telescopes vary, you should read the manual carefully to find out how to best balance your mount. Make sure all screws are in place and the stand itself is stable and not shaking before use.
Find areas less polluted by light
Light pollution is the result of intentional and unintentional human activities, such as parking lots, sports arenas, streetlights and household lamps. The glow in the sky is the result of scattered light from all of these sources. For observing faint stars and meteors, the darker the sky, the better. As one moves away from the city center, the amount of skyglow due to light pollution decreases. Therefore, it is essential to leave the municipal limits and drive at least 20 to 30 miles.