Your telescope is an amazing tool. It makes seeing far away planets and stars possible from millions of miles away, but without regular cleaning and maintenance problems may occur.
Fortunately, when it comes to housecleaning this is one of the easiest tasks. It will leave you plenty of time for stargazing and pondering the questions of the universe once you’re finished.
Tools Needed for Cleaning a Telescope
- Lens Cleaner
- Lens Cleaning Paper
- Canned Air
- Dry Towels
- Distilled Water
- Sterile Cotton
Cleaning Lenses in a Hurry
Just like dirty glasses are hard to see through, so too are dirty telescope lenses. If you’re in a hurry, and don’t have time to go into a thorough cleaning, simply hold three of your fingers over the lens and inhale as though you are morphing into a human vacuum cleaner.
This will remove any particles, dust, or pollen that has built up since the last time you decided to look up into the night sky, but it also may cause you to cough. Ah, the challenges of housecleaning! Don’t go overboard, but breathing in, instead of blowing directly on the lens will ensure you don’t scratch anything up.
Cleaning Lenses Thoroughly
To do a thorough telescope lens cleaning, take a new lens cleaning paper, spray it lightly with lens cleaner. Then lightly rub the lens surface in a clockwise motion. Make sure to pay special attention to any smudges or build up that you happen to notice.
A bottle of canned air is another great option, just don’t spray it directly at the lens. Doing so can cause scratches or other imperfections, so angle the air compressor where the air blows across the lens instead of directly at it.
Cleaning the Mirrors
If you have finished cleaning the telescope lenses and notice that you still aren’t getting the type of quality optics you’re used to, it’s time to move onto the mirror. Unless your telescope is really old, or was stored in a leaky or damp area, this shouldn’t be necessary.
Nobody said housecleaning was easy, but if required, this project is worth the extra work. Before starting, make sure to study the operator’s manual thoroughly. This will give you information on what kind of screwdriver to use, and how to safely and effectively remove the telescope mirror.
Now separate the mirror and rinse it off in a recently washed sink with a bottle of distilled water. Tap water isn’t going to necessarily harm the mirror, but distilled water is much easier on the glass, so make the extra effort.
Once the mirror is thoroughly rinsed, let it air dry on top of a towel. You can dab up any drips with the corner of a towel, just try and do it as lightly as possible. This is also where sterile cotton can come in handy, as it’s perfect for absorbing additional moisture.
As long as there aren’t any major splotches or imperfections, go ahead and reinstall the mirror. Going any further can risk a scratch, and if that happens, you’re going to need a new telescope altogether. In short: not worth it!
Finally, it’s important to consider proper storage. Investing in a dust cover is a great way to protect mirrors, lenses, and other important components like the tripod, and focus knobs. Depending on your telescope’s size, a box or clean bed sheet are also possible options.
Remembering to add regular telescope maintenance into your housecleaning routine is a surefire way to keep one of your favorite accessories exploring the galaxy for years to come.
You may also like Safe Ways to Clean a Microscope.