Installing and aligning a finderscope can be a daunting experience if you’re new to it. But it is a simple task to follow…
Having a properly installed and aligned finderscope makes life easier in locating objects in the sky since with a finderscope you have a wider field of view than using your main telescope.
Finderscopes available to buy can vary. I wrote about Optical vs. the Red Dot designs if you want to know their pros and cons.
How to install a finderscope on your telescope
Start by locating the mounting bracket on your telescope. It is usually located on the top or side of the main telescope tube.
Next, attach the finderscope to the mounting bracket using the screws provided. Make sure the finderscope is securely fastened to the bracket.
After mounting the finderscope, you will need to align it with your telescope.
How to align finderscope with telescope
Proper alignment is essential for accurate pointing. I will explain how to align a finderscope with your telescope’s main optical system:
- Start by centering the main telescope on an identifiable object in the distance. During the day, you could use a tall tree or tower in the distance. At night, use a bright object in the sky such as the Moon.
- Use the adjustment screws on the finderscope to move the crosshairs until they are lined up with the same object in the main telescope.
- Once the finderscope is aligned with what you see through the main telescope, check the alignment again on another distant object to make sure it is accurate.
- If the alignment is still off, continue to adjust the finderscope until it is truly aligned with the main telescope.
Remember to take your time and be patient when adjusting the finderscope. With practice, you’ll become more efficient at aligning it with the main telescope.
Tips for aligning a finderscope
Aligning a finderscope on your telescope can be a bit tricky. One problem folks can run into is trying to do it on uneven ground or using a shaky tripod (read how to fix it).
So tip number one: Make sure your telescope has a stable tripod and is on an even surface. Any movement can throw off the alignment.
Don’t get discouraged if it takes a few tries to get it just right. With a little patience and persistence, you’ll get a pretty accurate alignment.
It’s a good idea to periodically check and adjust the finderscope alignment, especially if you transport the telescope frequently or if it gets bumped during use.
If you’re not satisfied with your current finderscope, you may want to upgrade to a better model. I wrote about why your image is upside down and what to look for in an upgraded finderscope.