A telescope is your window to the universe. You use it to see celestial objects and ponder at the wonders of the unknown. But like any other instrument you use, a telescope needs to be properly maintained in order to ensure that it continues to function properly.
How to Care for your Telescope
To help you keep your telescope in great shape, here’s a look at four simple maintenance and cleaning tips. Follow these tips and you’ll be able to use your telescope to continue seeing other worldly objects for years to come.
1. Blow Off Dust and Debris
To clean off loose dust and particles that accumulate on your telescope, use compressed air. The pressurized air minimizes the risk of scratching the lens and the mirror.
You can use a canned gas, such as Dust-Off, but take precautions. These products contain compounds that can leave deposits on your telescope. Don’t shake the can and release a vent of air before applying it to your telescope.
Hold the can in an upright position. Slowly move the can across the optics of the telescope, or move the optics instead.
2. Clean of Smudges and Remaining Particles
Use a cleaning solution to remove any remaining dirt and debris, as well as smudges. Mix together 50 percent pure alcohol and 50 percent distilled water. Using higher amounts of alcohol can dissolve the cements that hold the optical elements in place, as well as the lacquers and non-metallic components if the solution gets into the wrong part of the telescope.
Slightly dampen optical tissue with the solution and wring out any excess. Gently wipe the tissue across the lenses.
Dampen a new optical tissue with cleaning solution and wring out any excess. Use the tissue to wipe down the surfaces of the eyepiece. Rotate the cloth to remove the dust and oils from the lens.
Repeat the same process to clean the main mirror or lens. Make sure to use the least amount of force possible to avoid damaging the components. If force is necessary, only apply enough to remove the dirt or smudges, but no more, as doing so could damage the optical surface.
3. Keep Moisture at Bay
Telescopes need to be kept dry. Moisture can damage and affect the quality of the viewing pieces and the usability of the device. This is particularly important for refractor and Schmidt-Cassegrains telescopes.
To keep your telescope dry, use a dew shield. In damp locations, a dew heater could also be used. If the telescope does become damp, leave it uncapped until it completely dries out to prevent oxidization.
4. Store in a Cool, Dry Location
When your telescope is not in use, make sure to store it in a cool, dry location. Avoid spaces with high humidity levels where condensation can develop. Locations that are not well-ventilated or insulated should also be avoided.
In addition, you should also choose a location where your telescope will not be exposed to direct sunlight. Prolonged exposure to sunlight can damage a telescope.
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