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Telescope Viewing Tips

So you've checked out one of the Library's Starblast 4.5 Reflector telescopes and you've read the manual. Now what? First, remember these 10 Steps to Successful Stargazing, then add the tips we've listed below to get the most out of your viewing experience in the Ann Arbor area:

  • Try to find a location out of town where there's less light pollution. (Read more about light pollution.)
  • Take a warm coat, bug spray, a sturdy table or box to put under the scope, a lawn chair or blanket, and an observing log.
  • Allow the telescope 30 minutes to an hour to reach outside temperatures before using.
  • If you're astigmatic, leave your glasses on; if not, you should be able to observe with your glasses off by just refocusing the telescope to your unaided vision.
  • The image in the eyepiece is supposed to be upside down! (Note: The moon map has been "flipped" to match what you see in the eyepiece.)
  • Visit the Ann Arbor Clear Sky chart to determine nightly viewing conditions.
  • Pick up a current Abram's Sky Calendar, available on the 2nd floor of the Downtown Library, to see the location of planets, constellations and celestial highlights each month.
  • Attend one of the University Lowbrow Astronomers' public observing sessions at Peach Mountain, 10 minutes northeast of Ann Arbor, and feel free to ask the Lowbrows lots of questions!
  • Visit the University Lowbrows' Observer's Guide or Young Astronomer website.
  • If the eyepiece or mirrors appear dirty, damaged, or out of alignment, do not try to clean or fix them yourself. Just bring them back to the Library and we'll take care of it.
  • Warning! Never point the telescope at the Sun, as parts will melt! And never look at the Sun through your telescope or its finder scope - even for an instant - as permanent eye damage could result.

With some practice, patience, and clear skies, here are some of the things you may be able to find using the Starblast.