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Not seeing anything

Need our opinion on a telescope Optics Planet has on sale, go ahead and ask! Post some hints and tips on various telescope brands and configuration.

Not seeing anything

Postby wallyz on Thu Oct 09, 2008 4:58 pm

I just assembled my new Galileo FS-85 telescope and I believe that I did
it correctly. But when I went to look through the lens, I didn't see anything. What am I doing wrong? Please help.

Postby Jne_K on Fri Oct 10, 2008 5:50 am


Sorry you are having problems seeing with your new telescope. Sometimes it is a matter of a defective telescope, but most of the time it's a matter of not being familiar with your scope.

Here are some basic things I would try first. Please don’t be offended if some of them seem to be so simple as to be insulting. I've had mnay customers who overlooked one or more of these. Be sure to read the articles at the end of this message. They can be used with any telescope.

First, remove the caps on the end of the telescope. On a reflector, this will be the opening nearest the focuser. Be sure the entire opening is clear, as many reflectors are provided with a cap that has a smaller cap inside. Both caps must be removed.

Second, align the finderscope. It is very difficult to use a telescope until this basic procedure is complete. I recommend doing this by day, as it is easier to see the adjustments on the finderscope. To align the finder scope, find a distant target on the horizon and center it in the eyepiece, then align the finderscope so that it is centered on the same object.

Third, always start observing with the low power eyepiece. This is the eyepiece marked with the largest number, not the smallest. It is much easier to find an object at low power and images are brighter as well.

Fourth, keep the magnification down. Too much magnification will yield a fuzzyy, very dark image. Use the barlow lens only with the low power eyepiece (again, the one marked with the largest number).

Fifth, begin your observing with an easy object such as the moon or a bright planet - basically things which are easy to see and find. Trying to find faint objects such as galaxies and nebulae takes practice and if you are not seeing these faint objects, it is more likely a lack of expertise than it is a defective telescope. If you still suspect a problem with the telescope, try it by day on distant objects. If you can see objects by day, but not at night, the problem is more likely your observing technique than a defect in the telescope. When you have a little experience and confidence, then start looking for more challenging objects.

For basic instruction on how to setup and use any telescope, see my article, Telescope FAQs

For some other helpful observing tips, see my article, A Dozen Telescope Observing Tips For Beginners

Last, but not least, if you are still having trouble with the basics, I strongly recommend you visit a local astronomy club. An astronomy club is the quickest way to learn both astronomy and telescopes and astronomers are almost universally willing to help a beginner.
Thanks for posting with us
Joanie K - Your personal optics expert


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