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The telescope I'm using is a National Geographic 76 Diameter, 700 focal length, Equatorial Mount.

It's hard to use the equatorial mount, as this is my first telescope it's hard to use.

Everything I see is upside down.

I don't know how to polar align my telescope.

I don't know how to make move the telescope around properly because of this EQ mount.

Any help would be really appreciated

I watched videos of people aligning their finderscope but i don't even know how to move mine let alone align it.

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  • $\begingroup$ Do you have the manual? If not it is available online, eg manualslib.com/manual/1129584/… It is normal for an astronomical telescope that everything is upside down. $\endgroup$ – Dr Chuck Aug 5 '17 at 7:43
  • $\begingroup$ I began by looking at youtube with the brand and model of my telescope. There are many videos that will give you good starting pointers. If you have some clubs near you that might help. $\endgroup$ – Peter Aug 5 '17 at 7:56
  • $\begingroup$ I only found one, and it was 2 minutes long and didn't help me at all. $\endgroup$ – Aaron Aug 5 '17 at 9:19
  • $\begingroup$ @Aaron Search for the local astronomy club and ask someone to help you. We're a friendly community. Once you see how it's done, it will be easy for you to do the same later on. $\endgroup$ – Florin Andrei Aug 14 '17 at 18:30
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Seeing things upside-down is normal with an astronomical telescope. You have to take that into account when pointing.

Sounds like you have at least four other distinct problems here:

1) You don't know how to align your equatorial mount.

For someone just starting out, you don't have to do this precisely, just enough so it doesn't get in your way too much. First, adjust the tilt of the polar axis to match your latitude. If you live at 40 degrees north, you want your polar axis to be tilted 40 degrees up from horizontal. Then, turn the mount so the upward-tilted part of the polar axis points north. Again, your first few times out with the telescope you won't need to get this precisely right. You should find that if the polar axis is correctly aligned, it should point near (although not precisely at) the North Star. (This assumes you live north of the equator; if you live south of the equator, you'll want the up-tilted part to point south).

2) You don't know how to use an equatorial mount.

It is tricky to use a German equatorial mount (like the one in the picture) on objects near the meridian (the imaginary line connecting the north and south poles in your sky) since as you move the telescope around, it will need to swap places with your counterweight. This just takes getting used to.

3) You don't know how to align your finderscope.

It is actually easiest to do this during the day. Select the lowest power eyepiece you have (the one with the biggest lens will be lowest power-- don't use a barlow if they gave you one). Point the telescope at a distant, but distinctive, terrestrial object on the horizon. A tall tree sticking up, a church steeple, a smoke stack, something like that. Do this just by sweeping the telescope along the horizon line while looking through the low-power eyepiece. Adjust the focus on the eyepiece so distant objects appear sharp. When you have your target centered in the eyepiece, leave the telescope there (the telescope should stay where you point it if it is balanced properly; if the telescope wants to move around, you might try locking the axes--make sure to unlock them again when you want to move the telescope). Then look through the finder scope-- you may have to adjust the focus on the finderscope. Be very gentle with the finderscope, you don't want to move the telescope around. You should be able to see your target through the finderscope. Loosening and tightening the screws on the finder mount will change the aim of the finder slightly. You want to adjust the finder aim until the finder crosshairs are on your target. Then doublecheck that the target is still centered in the eyepiece.

4) You don't know how to use your finderscope.

When the finderscope is properly aligned, you can use it to point the telescope. Center the target you want to look at in the finder cross hairs. It should appear somewhere in the view of the telescope through the low power eyepiece. Again, it is easiest to practice this during the day on distant terrestrial objects on the horizon, before you start looking for the moon and planets at night.

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Many telescopes make images look upside down, flipped left-to-right, or both (i.e. rotated by 180 degrees). This is just the nature of imaging systems and the occasional image erector or star diagonal.

You are right that equatorial mounts are more difficult to use. To ease the frustration, I suggest you just stop worrying about the mount and just point the telescope manually. You can start with easier targets and gradually try to find more difficult ones:

1) The easiest target is the moon. Just place the telescope on the floor with no concern for alignment and aim it at the moon. Look for craters.

2) After the moon, try to find binary stars. The easier pair to see is Mizar and Alcor, which are a pair of stars in the Big Dipper. Again, just point the telescope manually. Then gradually learn about more binary stars (I really like Albireo). Use the free planetarium software Stellarium to help you find them.

3) After binary stars, try to find the moons of Jupiter. This is more difficult because Jupiter moves in the sky, but it is also very rewarding. You will definitely need Stellarium to tell you when/where to find Jupiter.

Later in the future you can return to trying to setup the equatorial mount. The only advantage of setting up the mount correctly is that you can then have the telescope track the sky for you. It's a nice feature, but one that you can survive without.

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  • $\begingroup$ I tried aiming my telescope at the moon but I just couldn't do it, it was so hard to do, my finderscope isn't much help either and i watched a bunch of videos saying to use the screws to align the finderscope but the screws on my finderscope don't do anything. Any suggestions?? I really need help tonight is cloudy and I only get like 5 minutes every hour to look at the moon $\endgroup$ – Aaron Aug 5 '17 at 9:18
  • $\begingroup$ Let's assume that the finderscope is aligned well enough. Try this: (1) Select the lowest zoom lens you can find. The lower the zoom the easier it is to find stuff, and and the less everything will shake. (2) Find the moon with the finderscope and center it. (3) Then try to find it with your low-zoom lens and center it. (4) If you want to zoom more, do it only at the end. I cannot give you instructions to operate your telescope. The other option is to just use binoculars. $\endgroup$ – DanielC Aug 11 '17 at 3:14
  • $\begingroup$ After reading the first few words I didn't even continue to read the rest. You are wrong: Not all telescopes make the image up side down. It is highly dependent on what telescope you use. Usually, only refractors (fully lense telescopes do that). SCT and RC telescopes for example only flip right and left, not up and down. $\endgroup$ – RononDex Aug 14 '17 at 14:51
  • $\begingroup$ RononDex: I suggest you read the rest of DanielC's comment; the three pointers he outlines are good. $\endgroup$ – Jim421616 Aug 15 '17 at 0:18
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    $\begingroup$ RononDex: Relax. I know that not all telescopes flip images upside down. Easy counter-examples include binoculars and bird-watching scopes. The point was that image flipping is entirely normal. My comment was meant to be useful to Aaron; not to satisfy pedants. If I were a pedant, I'd point out that you are also wrong about right-left flipping. It should be intuitive to any pedant that there should be no fundamental difference between right-left and up-down flips. What mirrors do is a reflection along the z-axis which is not identical to right-left flipping. Thankfully, I am not a pedant :-) $\endgroup$ – DanielC Aug 15 '17 at 18:57

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