Introduction to Telescope Use

Lecture: The Night Sky and Astronomy

Introduction to Telescope Use - Mountaineers Seattle Program Center

Introduction to Telescope Use

COVID-19: Learn about our most up-to-date guidance for participants and leaders on our COVID-19 Response page. All participants and leaders must agree to the COVID-19 Code of Conduct before participating in this Mountaineers activity.
  • For Beginners (Getting Started Series)

Meet at the Seattle Program Center in Magnuson Park. The workshop will begin at 8:30pm in Cascade A and Cascade B. The workshop will run until 11:30pm.

Topics Covered:

Basic use of telescopes for visual astronomy

  • Limited to manual (non computerized, non-go-to) telescopes
  • Identify and understand the basic optics of the different designs of telescopes
  • Aligning and using a finder scope or equivalent pointing tool (such as a Telrad)
  • Use a telescope to find a target using an alt-az and an equatorial style mount
  • Know what polar alignment is, and be able to perform a coarse polar alignment
  • Slew to a target and achieve focus
  • Read a star-chart and use one to navigate to an object

Eyepieces and filters

  • Specifications of eyepieces, what they mean, which are important
  • How eyepieces interact with telescopes to provide different magnifications and
    fields of view
  • Limitations of optics
  • How to swap between different eyepieces in a dark situation
  • Choosing the best eyepiece for an object
  • Overview of useful visual filters
  • How to use visual filters

Care of optics

  • Proper handling of all gear
  • Preventing dust
  • Proper storage
  • Cleaning of optical surfaces
  • Collimation (Newtonians and SCTs only)

Mountaineers Seattle Program Center

Required Equipment

Required Equipment

The two initial workshops that will enable Mountaineers to be certified for dark sky trips to Trips to Goldendale Sky Village for observational astronomy will require red light FOBs, Planispheres, and some instructor created content. These materials will be provided to students as part of the enrollment in the series.

Binoculars, laser pointers, telescopes, mounts, filters, and eyepieces will be used and their care taught during the workshops. These materials will be provided to the workshops, but are not to be kept by students. Students may bring their own gear from this list for use in the workshops, so long as the gear intended to be brought is approved of by the instructor ahead of time.

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