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Tutorials

  • Classical Cassegrain Design

    Classical Cassegrain Design

    Above: Optical layout of a typical Cassegrain reflecting telescope This section details the optical design and inherent aberrations of Cassegrain-type reflecting telescopes. For a more basic overview of these designs please see the Ritchey-Chrétien page and the Cassegrain page. For...

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  • Schmidt-Cassegrain Design

    Schmidt-Cassegrain Design

    Above: Optical layout of a typical Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope This section details the optical design and inherent aberrations of Schmidt-type catadioptric telescopes. For a more basic overview of these designs please see the Schmidt-Cassegrain page and Schmidt-Newtonian page. For a review...

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  • Maksutov Designs

    Maksutov Designs

    Above: Optical layout of a typical Maksutov-Cassegrain telescope This section details the optical design and inherent aberrations of Maksutov-type catadioptric telescopes. For a more basic overview of these designs please see the Maksutov-Cassegrain page and the Maksutov-Newtonian page. For a...

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  • The Basics of Using a Telescope

    The Basics of Using a Telescope

    Getting started stargazing is easy, but there are some helpful hints to know in order to make using your telescope easier. The other pages of theUsing a Telescope section give specifics on polar alignment, balancing, and aligning a computerized telescope,...

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  • Polar Alignment

    Polar Alignment

    If your telescope uses an equatorial mount, you will have to align the mount with the north star, Polaris, in order for the telescope to track properly. For basic visual observing, polar alignment is not particularly critical and is easy...

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  • Balancing a Fork-Mounted Telescope

    Balancing a Fork-Mounted Telescope

    For many applications, a fork-mounted telescope will be sufficiently balanced as it comes from the factory. However, precise balance becomes critically important when taking astrophotos or when using heavy accessories such as 2" eyepieces. Proper balance causes less wear on...

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  • Balancing a German Equatorial Mount

    Balancing a German Equatorial Mount

    Unlike a fork-mounted telescope, a German equatorial mount must be balanced every time it is set up, whether for visual use or photography. Once you have balanced the telescope a few times, this will become second nature. Proper balance causes...

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  • Star Testing Telescope Optics

    Star Testing Telescope Optics

    Star testing a telescope can be a great way to determine if any errors are present in the optical system and what those errors are. The star test is very critical and can show even slight aberrations. It does require...

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  • Cleaning Telescope Optics

    Cleaning Telescope Optics

    Cleaning telescope optics can be important but there are some cautions that must be observed: Only clean optics if absolutely necessary. Do not clean optics more often than needed. Be very careful not to scratch the optics. Dusty glass is...

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  • Collimating a Newtonian

    Collimating a Newtonian

    Collimation is critical to obtaining the best performance from your telescope. There is a bit of an art to collimating a Newtonian. Once you have done it a few times, it will start to become second nature. Unless you have...

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  • Collimating a Schmidt-Cassegrain

    Collimating a Schmidt-Cassegrain

    Collimation is critical to obtaining the best performance from your telescope. Aligning the optics of a Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope (SCT) is much easier than collimating a Newtonian telescope and can easily be learned by any user. However, there are some tricks...

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  • Aligning a Celestron Advanced Series GT

    Aligning a Celestron Advanced Series GT

    Note: To select items from a list on the Advanced Series GT hand controller, use the UP and DOWN buttons (6 and 9) on the right side of the hand controller. First Steps Balance the telescope. For help with this,...

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