- Got a Telrad & no finder scope? Use your binoculars behind the Telrad for magnification. Ast first, it’s a little tricky lining up the binoculars with the Telrad, but with practice, it’s not too difficult & will allow you to position the telrad on fainter objects – Dave Scherping (original idea from Steve Bornemeier)
- At the start of an observing session, look at a star or planet with the eyepiece outside the normal focal position. You can see the turbulence crossing the image. If it is doing anything other than going straight across you know you have a local seeing problem that you need to take care of. – Martin Gaskell
- The eye is more sensitive to very dim, large, objects when they are moving. Thus, the Horsehead is far easier to see if you gently move the scope back and forth a few minutes of arc once every two seconds or so. Let the image move, don’t try to follow it with your eye. The brain seems to define faint edges best if they are moving across the retina, constantly hitting new areas. – Rick Johnson
- Hold binoculars on the fat end for a more stable view. – Doug Bell Set your scope outside early so it can cool off. Put a black sheet over your head while observing. Make a list of targets you want to observe. Have someplace for the kids to go.
- Do you wish your eyepieces were parfocal so you would only need to fine-tune the focus when you change eyepieces? If you have a few eyepieces that focus within ½” or less from each other, you can make them parfocal. Determine which eyepiece requires the most in-travel and focus that eyepiece on a star. Now switch eyepieces, and without readjusting the focuser, focus the eyepiece by sliding it out slightly in the draw tube. With a pencil, mark the barrel where it meets the focuser. Remove the eyepiece & wrap scotch tape around the barrel above the mark. Now, when that eyepiece is inserted into the focuser up to the tape, it will be parfocal with the first. This works best with 1¼ eyepieces. Just make sure you have enough of the eyepiece barrel in the focuser to keep it straight & secure. – submitted by Dave Scherping
- Do you want to prevent your secondary from coming loose and falling onto the primary mirror of your Newtonian scope? Dumb question! Remove your secondary mirror and attach a piece of string to the back of it using silicone RTV (tie a few knots in the end of the string first to give it something to adhere to). Let it dry and replace the secondary. Tie the other end of the string to the spider. Now if the secondary mirror comes out of its holder, the string will save it and the primary mirror. – submitted by Dave Scherping
- Are you constantly battling the wind and the dew when you’re trying to write down your observations? If you’re not trying to draw the object, you might want to record your observations with a small pocket tape recorder. Then transfer your observations to your log at a later time. This is a great way to work on the Messier award or Herschel award. – submitted by Dave Scherping