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How do you use a telescope?

#Women-in-science #Women-in-astronomy #Science #Astronomy #Telescope

Thank you comment icon Best way in setting up a telescope in the beginning is to not buy one yet. I am assuming your a beginner and may not have purchased one yet. There are several different types and you'll initially want to know which is the best one for you. I would recommend going to a public star party first hosted by a local astronomy club. They will most likely be willing to share their knowledge and explain the different scopes currently in use. Next I would recommend finding an astronomy group that has a loaner telescope program. This way you can try each of the available types of telescopes that are available and then decide which one you want to purchase. When you do, club members are generally helpful in getting you started and there is a ton of information on social media. ... Clear Skies. James Webster

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Craig’s Answer

I own a telescope, and have found it to be a great amount of fun to use during different occasions ranging from full moons to asteroid showers.
Keep in mind there are many types of telescopes, and to get started recommend finding out if you can borrow one before buying to make sure you enjoy it too!

Personally from my own experience, the most important three tips I have found, include:
1) The darker the night/location and clearer the night the better i.e. less dramatic of a view if using in a city with a lot of ambient light (that reflects), vs out in the country with minimal light interference.
2) Always use the 'viewfinder' that many telescopes have to point towards what you want to view, and ALWAYS start with the lowest magnification vs the highest (lens that is the least powerful than the most powerful amplification).
Reason, it is very hard to focus the telescope on something using the highest magnification since every little movement has a much greater impact on finding the object in question while adjusting and even 'shaking' depending on vibration on the tripod/stand/telescope goes through. The easiest object to start with is the Moon.
Note: If doing during a full moon, many telescopes have 'filters' that help shade the lens and your eyes from strong light that the telescope magnifies.
3) Once you have focused and found the object in question per #2 above, carefully switch to a higher resolution and enjoy the show!
Note: Depending on how high the resolution is, you may need to make some slight adjustments to the telescope depending on what you are looking at i.e. a star vs a planet.

Enjoy and hope you have some fun!

Craig recommends the following next steps:

A very thorough write up can be found at this website: https://www.space.com/14485-skywatching-telescopes-beginners-guide.html
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Dee’s Answer

Craig's answer has some great advice on optimizing your stargazing experience! As far as how to use a telescope, you will need to follow the instructions for set up, assuming you've bought a new telescope. Make sure you have enough time to complete the setup, have all the required assembly tools available, and see if, in addition to the included instructions, you can find a YouTube video that demonstrates setting up your particular model. I have found these set-up videos to be very helpful and informational, and its easier to understand some steps if you have a visual guide! Once the telescope is set up, play around with it during the day so you get to know the controls, and are familiar with it. Then find a spot that doesn't have too much light pollution (look up "Star parties" in your area, they'll list places that are good for stargazing), go there once its dark, set up your telescope and blanket, and look to the skies!

Dee recommends the following next steps:

This is a great overview: https://www.highpointscientific.com/telescope-users-guide
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Joseph’s Answer

There's some great information in the other answers for getting a personal telescope and getting into amateur astronomy, and that's probably best as a starting point for astronomy.

It's worth noting, however, that for astronomy as a career, most research is done using much larger permanent observatory telescopes, and the process for using them is quite different from amateur astronomy. In professional astronomy, it's very rare to be looking into telescope eyepieces - some sort of camera or sensor will be attached to the telescope, and you'll be looking at data from that - probably in a university office miles and miles from where the observatory actually sits.

There's fairly few large observatories and telescopes so time using them is limited, and the question of "how do you use one" becomes more about how you book time for the technicians to point it at the things you're interested - and that's all about putting together research proposals explaining why it's important to look at certain things.
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