Tip for today:After fitting an eyepiece to a telescope, give the eyepiece a gentle pull, to make sure the eyepiece doesn't slip out when you move or realign the telescope. Eyepieces can be expensive, so 'Tighten and pull'.
Tip for today: Newtonian owners can attach a stepper ring to the bottom of their focusing draw tube to allow the fitting of larger, and cheaper, sized photographic filters. Alternatively, a small slotted holder, fashioned from cardboard, plastic or metal, can be fitted inside the telescope tube (beneath the drawtube).
Tip for today:Attach a hook to the bottom of your tripod so that you can hang a weight from it when required. Out in the field, or on walkabout, your rucksack can be hung on it to increase the tripods stability. Alternatively, a three hooked hammock, or triangular netting, could be attached between the tripod legs. This could also be used to store, keep safe - or just off the ground - things like torches, books, cameras and laptops etc.
Ed ~ Typical expanding telescope tripods have legs with a neat design slot to hook the hammock onto...I use three loops of string passed through each leg slot, and held in place by looping around a length of plastic tube. An empty paint bucket serves as a nice container.
Telescope tips:As the nights are starting to get colder for the northern hemisphere, now is the time to think about attaching insulating patches onto the scope - to avoid cold fingers.The next time you move the scope with your hands note where you place them. I usually grab onto the mirror diagonal to slew the telescope around; so on either side of the diagonal holder is where i have attached a couple of sticky felt pads (that came with sticky velcro pads from a hobby or craft shop).
Tip for today:If you have similarly shaped telescope focuser and slow motion control knobs, that may be difficult to tell apart in the dark; put a few rubber bands around the telescope focuser.It then becomes quite simple to differentiate between the two with gloveless hands.
To set your setting circles on your telescope mount, a small (and potentially dangerous) tip is to set it using the position of the Sun. Use its shadow (If you do not have a solar filter) to point the scope at the Sun (Keeping the lens cover on, including the one for the finder), and rotate the setting circles to the desired right ascension (RA). A long hollow tube positioned along the length of the telescope can improve the accuracy of this technique.
The sun is currently at Position (2000) RA: 9h 04m 22.04s | Dec:+16°43'53.4"
The telescope also has to be aligned to the 'North' (or South) before the 'RA setting circle' is adjusted.
Ed ~ pointing an uncovered telescope at the Sun may damage or destroy any eyepiece, or accidentally blind an eye...
A small magnetic compass is worth attaching to a simple equatorial tripod to initially line-up it up with true north.
This is useful if the 'North star' is hidden or obscured from your observing site.(Using the 'star drift' method can further refine the alignment of the scope).
To ensure your telescope mount is level, a handy tip is to attach a spirit bubble level to the eyepiece plate. The round bubble level in the image can fit exactly into the eyepiece holder. But, to free the slot for eyepieces, i have attached the bubble level with a key-ring so that it can also hang free.
How to Focus Your Telescope: Tips and Tricks
Tip for today:Do you have a collection of old 0.965" planetary eyepieces, useless Barlow lens, and have upgraded your scope with a 1.25"/31.7mm focuser?You can still use the old eyepieces if you make an Eyepiece Adapter by sawing the top off of the Barlow lens (to about the size of a 35mm Film Canister). Your 0.965" eyepieces can now be used in the snug fitting adaptor.
(alternatively, a 35mm Film Canister can be converted into an adaptor by cutting a hole in the lid for the eyepiece and removing the bottom of the canister. The canister fits suprisingly well into a standard 31.7mm focuser. But, this is not as satisfying as cutting up, and finally finding a use for, a cheap Barlow lens).