Tip & How-To about Optics

Telescope Accessories

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!

Dew Shield
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.
Picture below-
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:

Balance Weights
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 !

Clear Skies!

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hello, i was wandering if i could adjust my NG70FS telescope with a computerised base. the existing tripod is a mess. its loose and i cant observe many things. thank you very much. Giorgos Kalogirou

No, that telescope is not worth very much and you should not spend any money upgrading it. A good tripod would cost over $100. You really cannot buy a use-able telescope for much less than $200.

Here is the one I recommend to beginners, watch this video:

Jan 11, 2011 | National Geographic NG70CA (225 x 70mm)...

1 Answer

I am looking for a telescope and I saw the JASON MERCURY 420 telescope on craigs list. I have never owned a telescope, I am a ameture photographer and I watch every science show on tv. I am not a 8 year old and I am not planning on spending my time looking at the moon1st question, Iis the telescope adaptable with my Nikon camera. I want something that I can atleast see the rings of Saturn as well as the dust cloud at the tip of the big dipper and beyond. 2nd question, Would this type of telescope come with a tripod, I know from photography that a decent tripod costs hundreds of dollars and I don't want to spend $500 on a tripod when the JASON MERCURY 420 telescope is only worth less than half of that.. Last question, should I be looking forr a refractor or a reflecting,( I think that's what you call them,). Any help would be greatly appreciated, Thanks, Mark

Do NOT buy that telescope.

Second, to take long exposure (several minute) astro-photos you must use a GEM mount like one of these:



Then you need to decide on the scope to use. Something like this would work:


or this:


Additionally you will need some accessories to mount the camera onto the back of the telescope, and you will need to learn how to polar align the mount so it will accurately track the sky.

Read these articles:

Oct 08, 2010 | Optics

1 Answer

i need eyes pieces by meade 60AZ-D

This is a very small 60mm refractor, not much bigger than a pair of 10x50mm binoculars. Personally I would not spend any money on this; but would save up to buy a 6 inch or 8 in Dobsonian reflector scope like this one:


However read my TIP on my profile page about buying Accessories for a telescope. There are several links there where you can buy the .965 size eyepiece for your scope.

Feb 06, 2010 | Meade Optics

1 Answer

Replace Eyepiece on Saturn F-900 Model 60EQ

You need an eyepiece This scope uses .965in eyepieces. you can find them on Ebay. Maximum magnification is 100x NOT 420x. These scopes have inferior optics and terrible mounts. Don't spend much on this scope. Buy a 20mm (35x magnification) http://www.ebay.com/itm/Astro-Optics-20mm-965-Telescope-Eyepiece-NEW-/230688144635?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item35b615bcfb or a 15mm (45x magnification) http://www.ebay.com/itm/Astro-Optics-20mm-965-Telescope-Eyepiece-NEW-/230688144635?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item35b615bcfb on Ebay If you are interested in astronomy, you need to spend some money on a good scope. Check out Orion for a great tabletop dob for $100 http://www.telescope.com/Telescopes/Dobsonian-Telescopes/Mini-Dobsonians/Orion-SkyScanner-100mm-TableTop-Reflector-Telescope/pc/1/c/12/sc/28/p/9541.uts

Oct 25, 2007 | Bushnell Deep Space 78-9512 (120 x 60mm)...

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