Telescope Basics 6 (of 6): Understanding telescope finders, types, and alignment

New telescopes come with a couple different types of inexpensive finders – magnifying and non-magnifying ones. In this video, David Fuller of “Eyes on the Sky” takes the viewer through the various types of basic finders, highlighting the benefits and drawbacks of each so the viewer can make a better educated decision when purchasing a new telescope. Also covered is how to align a finderscope with the main telescope, with a visual demonstration of how it might look for the viewer.



Will Jackson says:

David, I’m new to astronomy and just bought my first telescope. Although my questions may be a bit silly, I am having trouble with the red dot finder… and the manual is a bit vague.

1) Both eyes open or one eye closed?! The manual instructs both eyes to be open while aligning the finderscope and material I’ve found online agrees–taking it so far as recommending both eyes open while looking through the main tube as well. However, for me, trying to do this while aligning the finderscope has proven different if not impossible due to the imperfections of human vision. For instance, vision doubles, red dots lose focus, etc.

2) Where, exactly, should you position yourself for looking through the finderscope? A serious flaw seems to come up with the red dot technique; the object which is being used to align moves drastically relative to the eye given even the slightest movements (more so when using a star to align, as suggested in the manual, than terrestrial alignment). Even when I try to align my eye to the circumference of the red dot scope tube, it is still unclear from what distance my eye should be to the finderscope.

I am trying not to over complicate things, but this is by far the thing which has given me the most trouble. Also, it is nearly impossible to use the telescope without the finder aligned.


Troyaner says:

Thanks for the videos! Feeling like a pro! ;P

Jerry Pan says:

Thanks for these videos – I’m waiting for my first telescope to arrive….very helpful

th33ninja says:

4:12 what scope is that ? Looks familier

Voxle says:

Do you need to do this every time you want to stargaze or just once?

Michael Edmond says:

Question…. has anyone made a spacer or moved the finder scope to another position? My reason is my telescope is ideally viewed via right eye, but i have to use left… and to see through the spotter i need to run round the other side or i head butt the scope… :-p

Ty guy says:

great series
learned a lot

Lucky79 says:

Excellent video, very informative and helpful.  Just bought myself a SkyWatcher 200P and was not 100% sure on how to align the main scope with the finder (first scope I’ve used in over 20 years).  Will definitely be checking out your other videos.

Jonathan Santana says:

Thanks for the help mate… my new Infinity 90 just arrived today so my daughters and i are pumped to see ‘what’s up’. New sub here.

Dawn B. says:

I’ve had my Meade Infinity 102 refractory telescope with red dot finder for 3 weeks and could not get it to find anything in the sky. I have tried to find out how to align the finder with the telescope itself to no avail…until now. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Tomorrow I go out in the daylight to find something I can point my red dot at to align my telescope with. That was the missing piece I had been searching for.

s jay says:

Red eye finder not working

Braden T says:

Yay I know how to center my finder! Last night I managed to get Sirius, Jupiter and its moons. The pictures should be up on my google plus soon

Skullzoy says:

I spent 30 minutes straight trying to find mars using a 2x barlow with a 4mm eyepiece. Eventually got pissed off and went inside. Should I invest in a magnified finder or stick with the rdf that I’m currently using? I’m pretty sure I had it aligned right, I aligned it earlier in the day before I went through this rodeo.

Sreeji Nair says:

Which telescope will you recommend for capturing photos using a full frame DSLR?

Jay Babcock says:

Is that stellarium location in appleton?

Stever R says:

I waited till I watched all six videos to comment, but my comment on all is “Thank you, you have offered so much help. Thank you for your time as well.
P.S. I’m 45 yrs old and love the funscope.

Abhishek Parida says:

Dear David, Thanks for the video series. It was very useful and helped me a lot. I am still learning the basics of amateur-astronomy.I am currently following a website … very practical.
However, my question is, how do I use this website to determine which eyepieces I should order. Should I exhaust all the possibilities from the drop-down list corresponding to the Messier objects (or Planets) and Eyepieces? I find this technique bit cumbersome and require your suggestion. My idea would be to select the ‘best-observable’ magnification for an object and work from there by recording the eyepiece numbers and so on. Please correct me if that is not the case. Is there a general guideline to address my issue? In short, could you throw some light on how to hunt for an eyepiece range?
Thank you in advance!

Overman says:

This helps a lot. Thank you!

Mark Arber says:

Thank you these videos have been very educational and have helped me in determining what to get

skunkfacewoody says:

Cheers bud I shall try it, the red dot scope isn’t aligned at moment. Thanks for advice.

Pinballpete007 says:

Thank you so much for your series.  I watched all 6 parts and you really gave me a much clearer understanding of telescopes then before I started. Your series has helped me tremendously in purchasing my first telescope.

YeahItsThatBad says:

David, these videos are excellent, you are a great presenter.

Master 12 says:

I bought a 60 AZ refractor celestron telescope online . I used the finder to spot the star but when I saw it in lens I could not see anything. 

I have just started astronomy and do not know much.

Mike Mazzone says:

i use a telrad and a 8×50 raci together on my 12 inch dob, use the telrad to find first star then hop with the finder.

Diane Beckett says:

I hade a hard time with the alignment of my telescopes , and really didn,t understand it to well! This  video helped me alot ty very much, a very clear  explaination of the subject! A very good website ! ty David.:)

Master Chief says:

Will any pieces I get fit? are all telescope pieces universal?

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