Tip & How-To about Optics
So you bought your first telescope and want to spend some more of your money on useful accessories. Here is a list of things to buy first.
This TIP will be about telescope ACCESSORIES; or tell me again what extra STUFF do I need to buy!
One of your first purchases if you own a scope like my LX90 will be a Dew Shield. These can be made for almost nothing by using black poster-board and some stick on Velcro. Roll up the poster board into a tube around the front of the telescope, and trim it leaving about 1inch overlapping. Apply stick on Velcro to the two leading edge and place this "tube" over the end of the telescope.
The dew shield does two things. First it helps keep the dew off of the glass at the front of the telescope; plus it prevents light entry from the sides increasing contrast. You can purchase these for about $30 which is what I did with my LX90 and ETX90 telescopes.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/boatman1/2145341118/ You can see the dew shields stuck on the front of both telescopes.
Red Flash Light
Either purchase a flashlight with a red lens, or buy a roll of red taillight repair tape at an auto supply store. Place two or three layers of the red tape over the white light flashlight and trim off the excess. WHY?For the same reason that submarines use red interior lights at night.Red light does not affect your night vision. If you show up at a star party with a regular white light flashlight your Astronomy buddies will probably SHOOT YOU! http://www.flashlightreviews.com/qa/nightvision.htm
A Good Star Chart- or Field Manual
Just like a road map for finding your way around a large city, a star chart is a map of the sky and will help you find thousands of objects to look at with your new telescope. Here are several good star charts- and field manuals:
A Small Table
You should buy a small easy to carry table to setup and use to hold the star charts that you just bought. Wal Mart sells a small fold-up lightweight table for about $20. Here is another one:
An Observing Chair
You +mean I cannot just STAND-UP! Well you can but after several hours of standing and bending over you will wish you had an adjustable height chair. Here are several very good observing chairs:
And here is one you can make if you are handy with common tools: The Denver Chair- also a review of other types of observing chairs:
Certain types of telescopes will need a diagonal. Just buy a dielectric coated 1.25 inch diagonal. The coating reflects 99% of the light and it's very durable:
If you have a tracking style telescope or an equatorial mount the scope will need to be BALANCED in both axis. An unbalanced scope will not track the sky properly, and can wear out the internal gears or place excessive stress on the gears.
These are available from a variety of internet Astronomy shops. Mine came from www.scopestuff.com right here in Texas. If you look at the Dew Shield picture above, you can see two weights hanging below the large LX90 telescope. The weights are mounted on a RAIL so they can be moved forward or backward to balance the scope. Also notice they stick-out away from the telescope in what's called a 3D arrangement. Weights are required for German Equatorial Style telescope mounts. The LX90 in the picture is an alt az mount, and I am balancing the smaller 80mm telescope mounted on the top of the larger tube.
See the picture above under Dew Shield.
12Volt Power Supply
How do you POWER a laptop and cameras and the telescope when you are out in the middle of a FIELD! I own two 12 volt power packs JUST IN CASE!
They come in various AMP HOUR ratings. Buy the most powerful one you can afford. You can also use one of those "car Starter" power packs that Wal Mart sells. Make sure it has at least two 12 volt cigarette lighter style plug-in receptacles.
A Planetarium Program for your computer or cell phone:
Here is a good free one for your computer. Several Iphone applications are available at the Iphone store.
OK,I probably overwhelmed you so I will stop for right now. Remember you don't have to buy these all at one time. But eventually if you stick with the amateur Astronomy hobby, you will own all of the above accessories, along with several telescopes!
You can go to www.cloudynights.com and register for free and READ the telescope forums. Lots of good Astronomy and telescope information on http://www.cloudynights.com !
Posted by Joe... on
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