I can’t see anything clearly through my telescope at night – help!

I can’t see anything clearly through my telescope at night – help! If you can’t see anything clearly through your telescope at night, try using the scope in daylight first. It is much easier to familiarize yourself with focusing, aiming the telescope and aligning the StarPointer in daylight if you are new to astronomy.

Always start with the lowest power eyepiece (the one with the highest number in millimeters printed on it). It is much easier to focus and has a wider field of view making it easier to aim the telescope. Find the eyepiece drawtube first. In a refractor, it is the 1-to-2-inch tube at the back of the telescope. In a reflector, it is the small tube sticking out of the side nearly at the front end of the telescope. Insert your eyepiece in the tube and then tighten the setscrew(s) to hold it securely.

Second, point the telescope at a distinctive building or part of the landscape at least several hundred yards away. You want distant objects because telescopes are looking at what is called infinity focus looking at objects in the sky. You can point your scope by getting behind the tube and moving the scope looking along the tube. Once you think you are close, clamp both axes of telescope or the pan handle so it won’t move. Look through the eyepiece by placing your eye just behind it, not right against the lens. Now turn one of the two knobs to the side or below the drawtube, first one way then the other until the terrestrial object is in focus.