If someone wants to know ‘how to use a telescope‘, the answer could simply be “point it at the object you want to look at and away you go!”

This, of course, would be unfair as there is so much more to using a telescope if you want to take advantage of its full potential.

Telescopes are available in varied sizes, shapes, and designs, however, the basic principle of collecting, magnifying light from distant objects is the same for them all.

Some use lenses others use mirrors to collect the light, this is then focused down a tube to where an Eyepieces then magnifies the image.

Below are some useful tips on how to get the most from your telescope – starting with alignment of the Finder Scope.

how to use a telescope

Aligning the Finder Scope

Finding objects in the night sky can be challenging for the beginner so to make things easier most telescopes are equipped with a small finder scope. The Finder Scope can be used as a first step in centring a celestial object in the telescope’s eyepiece.

There are two types, an optical Finder-Scope with lenses and a Red Dot Finder-Scope, the setup for both is the same.

Telescope or Spotting scope
It may be necessary to align your Finder Scope and the main Telescope before you try to observe distant celestial objects.

Be sure to read the instructions supplied by the telescope’s manufacturer.

Then go outside during the day. Point the instrument at a distant terrestrial object—a Church tower or Chimney Pot, for example. Locate the image in the centre of the Telescope Eyepiece using the lowest magnification.

Next, look through the Finder-Scope and centre the same object using the adjustment dials on the Finder-Scope mount. Observe the distant Church Tower or Chimney through the Telescope. (Don’t be alarmed that the telescope image is upside down. This is normal for most telescopes.)

Adjust the alignment of the telescope and finder scope until the image is cantered in both the finder scope and the telescope eyepiece.

Repeat the Process

Repeat the process for the next highest eyepiece magnification.

While you are aligning your telescope, you should practice changing eyepieces without moving the telescope so that at night, when observing a celestial object, you will be able to change eyepieces easily by feel without upsetting the pointing direction.

Once you have found your celestial object you will not want to lose it just because you have bumped the telescope!

Difference between Spotting Scope and telescope

 How to Use a Telescope | Part 1

Now you are all set to move on to Part 2 of the UK Telescopes guide on how to use a telescope!

When you take your Telescope outside on a clear night. you will find the object you want to look at through the Finder Scope first. Once this is centred, you can then look through the Telescope Eyepiece and there will be the magnified object.

If you are still uncertain as to whether you should choose a telescope or spotting scope, please don’t hesitate to contact on of our experts via our handy Chat Tool in the bottom right corner of the page.