34 The best Milky Way 20s exposure.jpg

Viewing Guides


Seek out the best dark skies that you can - the light from the Moon or street lights will affect what you can see
Fainter high magnitude stars will not be visible and deep space objects will be difficult to observe
In the summer, you may have to wait until midnight before it gets completely dark

Dark-adapted eyes are important
Eyes can take up to 20 minutes to become used to the dark conditions - then your eyes will be able to pick out the very faint objects much better

Use a torch with a red light
A red light allows you to see around you without losing your night vision

Keep warm
Take the trouble to wrap up warm - as well as a coat and gloves, a hat is important, as is an extra pair of socks to keep your feet warm

A pair of binoculars can help
Even when using a telescope, a pair of binoculars can help you locate a faint comet or other faint night sky object quite quickly
Once you know where to look, you can point your telescope in the right direction very easily

Have a ‘relaxed’ eye for viewing
Try not to squeeze one eye shut when you are viewing through an eyepiece with your other eye
Covering your eye with a hand is better, leaving the eye open and ‘relaxed’ whilst observing with your other eye

A telescope needs to be at the same temperature as you are viewing - you can start viewing straight away with a telescope if it is stored properly
Taking a telescope from a warm room into the cold of a night may cause the air to ’wobble’ affecting your view of an object - allow about 20 minutes for the telescope to cool to the same temperature as outside to overcome this problem (This is especially important if you are trying to take photographs)

Keep a record of what you see
Over a period of time, an interesting record can be made of what you have seen. This might be a list of the Messier Catalogue seen or an eclipse…

Averted vision
This technique is used when viewing a faint object at the limit of the eye’s ability to detect the object
Keep practising this as your brain keeps wanting you to look directly at the object in order to see it - but look just to the side and you’ll see it!