Sorry you are having problems with your new telescope. When you can't see anything, it is nearly always a matter of not knowing how to set up and use a telescope
and only rarely a matter of a defective telescope. Please take these simple steps and read the article, Telescope FAQs
. It is impossible for us to determine if your telescope
is defective until this has been done.
If you still cannot see anything after following the steps outlined in this email and article, there is a good chance your telescope
is defective and you may wish to return it. You can see instructions for a return and fill out an RMA (return merchandise authorization) online
Here are some basic things to try if you are not seeing anything. Please don’t be offended if some of them seem to be so simple as to be insulting. I've had many 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 top end of the telescope. This is easy to find on most types of telescopes
, but a reflector can sometimes confuse a beginner. On a reflector, the top of the telescope
is 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 at the top of the telescope
must be removed. Be especially careful if you have a reflector not to remove the cap or touch the screws at the bottom of the telescope
(end of the telescope
opposite the focuser). This bottom cap holds the mirror and adjustments to the mirror. If you change anything, here, you will put the mirror out of adjustment and will then need to learn the basics of collimation (mirror adjustment).
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 since you have a much wider field of view. Images are brighter as well.
Fourth, keep the magnification down. Too much magnification is the single biggest beginner's mistake. Too much magnification will yield a fuzzy, very dark images with poor detail and field of view is very small, making it difficult to find objects. Use a barlow, wisely, if one is included with your telescope. It is easy to get too much magnification when you use a barlow lens. 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 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.