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Dark Skies
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Telescope Finders

A finder is a component of a telescope that aids in pointing your telescope at objects in the night sky. This page describes the attributes of various type of finders.

The magnification provided by a telescope actually makes it hard to point to someting up there in the night sky. The higher the magnification the less of the sky you can see through the scope. There are also stars in the view that can not be seen with the naked eye making what you see in the scope different from what you see with the naked eye. Even findin a bright planet can be difficult.

One technique is to use a very low power eyepiece to find the object. After moving it to the center of the field, change to a higher power eyepiece. Repeating this process will get you to a high magnification.

Another method is to have a "finder" attached to your scope. A finder is a low pawer (or zero power) scope. Some finders also present a pattern like a bulleye to assist in centering an object.


Finder Scopes finder
Finder scopes have been around for years. They are basically a low powered telescope mounted to your telescope. Because they are low power they have a large field of view. In othere words that magnify the sky but only a little. Once aligned with your telescope, if you center an object in the finder it should be pretty close to the center in you telescope. These deveices come with some lowere priced telescopes.


This is my personal favorite type of finder. It presents an LED bulls-eye that is brightness adjustable. There is no magnification factor with this finder. The bulls eye really helps point the scope at or close to your targeted object. For example I know that M13 (The Hercules Cluster) is one third the way from one star to another in the Hercules constellation. Using the Telrad I can easily set the telescope to this position.


There are even books published showing all the Messier, NGC, and other objects with a Telrad image on the page. All you have to do is match what you see through the Telrad to what is on the page in the book and you are right on target.

Red Dot
These devices are similar to telrads but they place a singe dot in the finder. While I consider this a poor mans telrad some people prefer them to a telrad.
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