How To Use a Telescope
Tips & Ideas
Mark Lucas  

How To Use a Telescope?

Have you bought a new telescope or got one as present but you don’t know how to use it? If so, no need to worry because we will tell you everything in this guide.

You will get to know, how to use a telescope and all related stuff in this article such as:

  • How to use different types of telescopes
  • Telescope Viewing Tips
  • How to observe moon and other celestial objects
  • Safety tips for Telescopes
  • Frequently Asked Questions

Many people think that you just have to place your eye on the lens and start watching the happenings in the space. However, it is not so easy to use telescopes because you have to ensure proper position, aperture size, magnification, eyepiece selection, tripod length and so many other things. All of this requires research and experience so you should prepare yourself when you purchase a new telescope. So, let’s begin with the telescope viewing tips below.

Types of Telescopes

Before we move on to the usage instructions on telescopes, we must explore the types of devices so that you know what you will be using later on.

Optical Telescopes

Optical telescopes work on the principle of light reflection and refraction just as most of the cameras do. Some optical viewers can be used in infrared and ultraviolet range as well because both of these have similar wavelengths to light in electromagnetic spectrum. Curved glass or mirrors are the key internal components that form optical telescopes. You will find 3 types of optical telescopes everywhere:

  • Refracting telescope: The telescopes started from this type and it is still quite famous today. Lenses are used to focus the images on to a specific point.
  • Reflecting Telescope: Mirrors are the main components used to reflect the light and produce images on a magnified scale.
  • Catadioptric Telescope: In this type, both lenses and mirrors are in use so that the images formed are highly crisp and accurate.

We will study how to use a reflector telescope shortly since these types are highly common in household use. They are affordable and easy to use so users are most interested in their usage.

Radio Telescopes

Radio telescopes are round dish receiving machines that gather radio waves. In spite of optical gadgets, this one doesn’t give any amplification. They catch the signs and test them at various frequencies as per the necessities. Present day radio telescopes have various recipients that permit different signs to be collected all the while. These signs are then changed over into pictures for the most part of galactic articles. These gadgets are additionally utilized for identification of microwaves and in unique projects to scan for life in space.

X-ray Telescopes

X-ray telescopes are utilized to identify the long frequency X-beams and things that lie in this range. They use reflectors in a particular course of action to center the radiation onto a central plane. Beams are gathered in ionization chambers, light finders or CMOS detecting gadgets relying upon the gear determinations. These telescopes are discovered far up in space as they are connected to space transports and satellites so clients will likely never purchase such a gadget for individual use.

Gamma ray Telescopes

Gamma beam telescopes are like X-beam gadgets and are typically utilized together. They are likewise found in satellites or space inflatables. Gamma beams have incredibly high frequencies and small wavelengths which make it intense to recognize. Along these lines, they use gap examples to recognize the general state of the picture and afterward build it by utilizing the examples. Therefore, the telescope doesn’t need to completely concentrate on high vitality gamma radiation.

How to use a Telescope?

After obtaining your telescope, the first step is to acquaint yourself with all the components inside. These include:

  • Telescope mount and tripod stand
  • Eyepieces
  • Finder scope
  • Tube containing the actual telescope
  • Hand controllers (if any)
  • Software (CDs or mobile application)

People ask how to use a Meade telescope? However, the important thing to understand is that Meade is a company and not an actual telescope type. You need to know the basic types and components of telescopes so that you can handle the product of any brand.  We will explain each part step by step so that users do not get confused with so many things at once.

  1. Firstly, check the type of mount on your telescope. There are basically 2 types used commonly: alt-azimuth and equatorial mount. The first one moves in straight lines while the second one moves in an arc pattern. You can see for the equatorial mount by counting the number of counterweights.
  2. Examine the tripod stand. See how to adjust the height of legs, mount position and horizontal movements. Some telescopes are of Dobsonian style which means that they are placed as it is and do not require tripods. However, it is recommended for beginners to start with a telescope that can adjust using tripod stands because it offers more control to the user.
  3. Look for the eyepieces. Think of eyepieces as separate viewing devices that come in different sizes. Smaller eyepieces will give you more magnification while larger ones will provide you with a wide range image but less magnification. Sizes are usually given in millimeters (mm). Most telescopes come with 2-3 eyepieces pre included although you can purchase them separately as well. You must position your eye towards the eyepiece to obtain the optimum level of view. It should not be too close or too far from the device.
  4. If you get a Barlow lens with your telescope, you can attach it on the eyepiece to increase the level of magnification.
  5. Finder scopes are another key item available with your telescopes. They are mostly used to centrally align the line of sight with an object. They can be used with in conjunction with the normal telescope. There are 2 types: optical and red dot. In the optical finder scope, you have to manually adjust the centre of an object while in red dot eyepiece, a small red marking will appear that you can use to precisely align to a specific spot. For people who ask, how to use a Celestron telescope, the company experts tell that you should always set the finder scope setting during the day because it is easier to do so.
  6. Now you have to decide what you need to look for. If you are just observing the night sky randomly, you are good to go with any type of telescope and accessories. However, if you are looking at the moon through a telescope, make sure you step out on a day when the moon is actually present! Moreover, you would need the appropriate eyepieces and finder scope ready for the purpose.
  7. If you wish to observe stars or deep space objects, ensure that the telescope reflector or refractor is of a decent size. You would need an aperture size of at least 90mm if you want a clear view of most celestial objects.
  8. If you are using a computerized telescope, then you may need to put in little effort yourself. You can use the hand remote control to adjust the settings of the telescope so that it locates the space objects automatically. You can even use it to get a full tour of the sky so that you become familiar with it. Modern devices come with mobile applications as well that let you observe the current locations of stars and other objects and the device sets its position accordingly through GPS.
  9. It is better to start practicing the use of telescope during the day because there is a higher chance of observation. You can just view some buildings far way, birds or poles so that you know how to set the positions and knob settings for the device.
  10. Lastly, we would say that you must enjoy your time with telescope. Read more about astronomy if it interests you so that you know further about the objects you are viewing. Use your telescope frequently in the start so that you get used to it. It will take some weeks to settle down but you will thoroughly enjoy the experience once you get the hang of it!

How to use a telescope to see the moon?

This is the question that probably everyone would ask you if you have a telescope. The moon is known by everyone because it is easily visible to us but few people get the pleasure to watch it closely. It is very simple to use a telescope to see moon surface as we shall explain here.

  • First of all, you have to make sure that the moon is actually present at the sky and not hidden due to clouds. The moon must have a reasonable brightness and be in a position where it can be examined easily. Full moon is not a right time to observe it because it is too bright to see it clearly. Experts classify the ‘quarter’ point as the ideal one to examine this round white body because the sun shines its light from the horizontal directions. You can use binoculars to watch the moon before you set the telescope for the task.
  • Next, you would need a proper magnification to watch the moon. Generally, you need at least 150 times magnification to observe the moon’s surface clearly. Most modern telescopes can magnify this much easily so you should not worry about it. Additionally, you can use Barlow lens with eye pieces to magnify further.
  • Use lunar maps or internet softwares to view the current location and altitude of moon. This will help you in locating it precisely especially, if you are using an automatic telescope.
  • Try to stay close to the border line which is also known as terminator. You can see it from the distinction between light and dark.
  • You can find interesting things while looking at the moon through a telescope like craters, dark patches, mountain ranges and locations of Apollo missions. It is not possible to see small objects like flag poles through a conventional optical telescope because they cannot magnify to such level.

Is it safe to look at the moon with a telescope?

Yes, it is absolutely safe to look at the moon with or without a telescope. The amount of light that the moon reflects is not dangerous even in full moon conditions so you should not worry regarding it. You may feel glare in the picture while viewing the moon from a telescope which is natural in dark nights. You should maintain a proper magnification such as 100-120x and use a good quality telescope for the purpose. The lunar eclipse is also safe to watch although you should stay away from your telescope during solar eclipse because it may damage your eyes.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can you use a telescope during the day?

Yes, you can use your telescope during the day. Many people utilize them in daytime to observe birds, mountains, distant buildings, weather patterns, etc. However, never point the telescope towards the Sun in the day because it can be harmful for your eyes.

  1. Can I use my telescope through a window?

It is not recommended to view through a telescope which is placed inside the house. Firstly, it will be very difficult to focus on the objects in the sky and even if it does, the image formed will not be clear at all.  The window glass is different to that used in telescope lenses which mean that you should not use your telescope through a window. If going out is not possible, you must open the window completely and then point your telescope outside.

  1. How to use a Meade telescope?

The following steps must be followed to start using a Meade telescope:

  1. First, unpack all the components and assemble the device. Use the instruction manual provided or online video tutorials.
  2. Set the telescope mount. It may be alt azimuth or equatorial. Check for the counterweights and screws to tighten or loosen the mount. Place the telescope on the tripod and vary its height to get a feel of the process.
  3. Set the finder scope. Align it with a particular object during day time. Use the knobs on the sides to adjust the focus.
  4. Look for the eyepieces. You will get 2-3 with every device so check them one by one by attaching them to the main telescope.
  5. Go out in the open and start exploring the sky by positioning the telescope according to your requirements.


Telescopes are really fun devices if you know about their bits and pieces. For a hobbyist or an amateur, the joy of observing the astronomical objects closely is immense. In this guide, we have tried to cover all points on how to use a telescope including the details about types, parts, appropriate settings, lens sizes and tips on looking at the moon through a telescope. The process is very simple and you only need to be patient and focused in your space viewing endeavors.

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