How to View Sun through Telescope : Astronomy for Kids

How to Take Care of Your Telescope

Telescopes are a great tool for the amateur astronomers to enjoy the celestial objects. A telescope is an investment that should last for years, that is why proper care is important. Dirt can damage the lenses or mirrors. This causes problems whereby the scattering of light makes the stars being viewed through the telescope look blurry and out of focus. An amateur stargazer should know how to properly care for his or her telescope, especially if it has been exposed to the outdoor elements i.e. Moisture, Temperature, dirt and all. There are some basic tools that can help in cleaning the telescope. Knowing how to clean all the different parts of the telescope is important to ensure the telescope continues to function properly for years and years. An important part of caring for a telescope is also collimating the optics. Here, we are focusing mainly on how you should proper care of your telescope.

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Outdoor elements that harm the telescope

Astronomers often take their telescopes outside to gaze the night sky. However, being exposed to the outside elements means that the telescope will need proper care. But, there are a few reasons why telescopes should be given special care after being outside including exposure to moisture and changes in air temperature. These can cause some serious damage to the telescope if proper precautionary measures are not taken for the scope. We are enlisting here the few that can harm your scope and how you can prevent that.

Outdoor Moisture 

A telescope is always in contact to moisture whenever it is taken outside. The formation of Dew or frost will always be there, although which one depends on the temperature and the season. These forms of precipitation rarely occur when there is a breeze though. An amateur astronomer can combat moisture in the following ways.

  1. The outside part, such as the arms or tripod, does not pose a serious damage issue if they get wet. The astronomer can wait until the telescope is brought inside to wipe it off.
  2. The optics should never ever be wiped off even if the lenses become covered with dew or frost. If necessary, the telescope should be brought inside or covered up. It can be monitored for dew by shining a flashlight across the glass. A cloudy or hazy film indicates that the dew or frost is too heavy for the telescope to be used outside.
  • It is also very important to cover charts and sky maps because they can easily get damaged by dew.
  1. Salty sea air can be especially bad for a telescope. The salt could end up deteriorating the mirror or the anti-reflective coatings. If a telescope is exposed to dew at the shore, it is important to thoroughly clean the device and the optics.
  2. A moist optical tube should never be stored in a closed case for a period of time. Moisture absorbent materials known as desiccants can be used to remove moisture from the scope.

Always store your telescope under a hood when not using it outdoors

Credit : http://www.opticscentral.com.au/caring-for-your-telescope.html 

Dust

Dust is one of the biggest enemies for your telescopes. Remove dust particles very very gently from the respective telescope part and always with a soft damp cloth. Use water, and only a little bit of that. Never ever use window cleaner on any harsh chemicals to clean your telescope. Use only the optical solution described on the web site for your optics and only use water for the rest of the telescope. Water will restore the brilliant shine and color to your tube assembly. Once the dust has been removed from the telescope, gently buff it with a soft cloth.

High Temperature

A telescope is never advised to be left in the direct sunlight for a very long time. The interior of the optical tube will become very hot, and the adhesives used in the telescope could get softened due to heat. The instrument should also be protected from high temperatures even when it is indoors or if it is being transported in a car.

How you should clean your Telescope:

Part of caring for the telescope means knowing how to clean its different parts. These include the mounting, the mirror, and accessories. There is also the possibility that cleaning can actually damage the telescope, so the amateur astronomer should start cleaning gently and then only start in-depth cleaning if the telescope is still dirty. The telescope should only be worked on in a clean area to help avoid it getting dirty. One should never use abrasive cleaners or pads on the telescope lenses or mirrors. Household cleaners should not be used either.

Tools to Clean a Telescope

There are a number of basic tools that an astronomer should have on hand to clean his or her telescope. Some basic tools are brushes, air bulbs, and different cleaners. Choosing the right cleaning tools will make the job much easier.

Tool for cleaning  

Their Usage

 

Lens Cleaner One should never use regular cleaners on a telescope, as some cleaning fluids can leave a thin film on the lens, which can further interfere with the clarity of the image observed. However, there are some cleaners specifically designed for cleaning lenses. Any amateur astronomer should do some research to make sure he/she is purchasing the right one for the job.
Rubber Bulb This device can be used to blow up air on the telescope. This helps blow away dirt and other particles along with it.
Rubbing Alcohol An alternative to lens cleaner can be rubbing alcohol. This should not be used in a confined space though as there are fumes. It may be a good idea to dilute the alcohol with distilled water before cleaning with it. A diluted solution of between 50-70 ٪ will be optimum.
Hair brushes Brushes can be used to wipe away dust and other particles off of the telescope. The brush should be very fine. Experts recommend using camel hair brushes.

Credit http://www.ozscopes.com.au/guides/telescopes-guide/caring-and-collimating-your-telescope.html

The Mounting

The mount of the telescope is usually made of either wood or metals such as brass, steel, or nickel. The wood can be oiled occasionally to keep it protected. If the telescope has some brass parts, these need to be given special attention. The brass should be well lacquered to avoid from turning dull.

Cleaning the Mirror

The astronomer should be careful when cleaning the mirrors because aggressive cleaning can actually cause damage. Cleaning the optics should only been done when absolutely necessary. If the telescope has a reflector mirror, it is a good idea to remove it from the scope but still keep it attached to the mirror cell. In order to clean the mirror, one can use a diluted solution of mild detergent. Distilled water should be used because both well and city water have tiny sand particles that can damage the mirror.

Cleaning Eyepieces or Accessories

The eyepiece should be cleaned with a blower bulb. An astronomer should never blow off dust with his or her mouth because that may cause moisture to be absorbed on the glass. The accessories should be stored in sealed containers to prevent dust or any damage.

Collimating the Optics

Another part of caring for a telescope is accurately aligning the optical centers of the mirrors, which is known as collimation. First, the astronomer needs to put a diaphragm with a 3mm hole in the center into the eyepiece tube and take a look. If the telescope is accurately collimated, the image of the flat mirror should appear in the center of the main mirror.

  1. If it needs adjustment, the owner can adjust the screws on the instrument designed for this purpose.
  2. The astronomer can test the adjustment by looking through the eyepiece at the center of a bright star. The magnification should be low.
  3. The telescope should then be moved so the star is halfway to the right and it looks like a comet with a tail.
  4. This should be repeated to the left to make sure that the tail is the same length.
  5. The top and bottom should be measured the same way and adjusted if they are not equal.
  6. The final task is to adjust is the eyepiece. Center its lens’ axis to collimate.
  7. The final piece is testing to see if everything worked. Repeat these steps as needed.

 Storing a Telescope

 A telescope needs to be stored properly to make sure it will work for years to come. An amateur astronomer may be surprised to learn that never using the telescope can actually be bad for it. Infrequent use allows dust to accumulate in different parts of the telescope. Not using the telescope for a while allows gravity to redistribute the lubricant on moving parts. If the amateur astronomer is not going to use the telescope for some time, he or she should still move it around to keep it in working order. There should be a lens cap on the telescope whenever it is not being used. If the astronomer happens to lose the original cap, a replacement can be made with anything on hand, such as a plastic bag or cloth that is secured with a rubber band. Eyepieces also need to have caps on both ends or be covered in some way.

Transporting your telescope

Most telescopes are sturdy enough and won’t get damaged if your store them properly during transport. There are dedicated cases for telescopes. You just need to just dismantle the parts of your telescope.

Conclusion

As amateur astronomers if you own a telescope should know how to take care of it properly. The owner has to be very careful to avoid scratching the lenses and mirrors. There are some helpful tools that one can use to clean his or her telescope. A telescope needs to be given special care after it has been used outside and exposed to moisture like frost, dew, and the sea air. It may also be necessary to adjust the optics on occasion. If the instrument is properly stored, it will not need to be cleaned as often. An amateur astronomer who takes care of their scope can look forward to wonderful years of amazing stargazing.