How to Care for and Clean a Telescope
Telescopes are robust instruments, and if used properly and well-maintained they should last for a long time without needing any major maintenance. However, chances are that there will come a time in the life of your telescope when you will need to give it a clean and a bit of TLC.
The most important thing to remember when trying to keep a telescope ship-shape and Bristol fashion is to keep it covered and well stored when not in use. Always make sure that the lens caps and duct covers are replaced firmly, and that the storage space in which the telescope is kept is dry and kept at a moderate temperature. Keeping the telescope in good conditions and taking the necessary care to ensure that it is dry and secure after use is one of the best ways to reduce the need for cleanings or repairs.
The cleaning methods for telescopes vary depending on the type of scope in question. For refractor or catadioptric telescopes, the fact that they are closed systems means that extensive cleaning to the interior optics is very rare, and that attention can be focused on the tube, eyepiece and outer lens. Try to avoid removing the lens from the tube if at all possible, and at all costs do not remove the corrector lens under any circumstances.
Newtonian reflector telescopes are much easier to work with as they are often designed with a modular mirror cell that can be easily removed from the mirror tube. Set the mirror unit down on a clean, padded surface while you clean the tube.
To clean lenses, the best thing to do is to go to your local telescope store and pick up a good cleaning kit. This should consist of a lens cloth, cleaning fluid, an air blower or compressed air canister and a fine brush. Ask for a demonstration and to be shown how to properly clean the lens – it takes five minutes and most store staff will be willing to show you. Take the time to study the process properly. Start by removing dust with a compressed air canister or fine brush, then wet a lens cloth or lens tissue with cleaning solution and move it in slow circular movements to clean the remaining dust. Dry with a dry section of the lens cloth, and replace the dust covers after giving it a few moments to air-dry.
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