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1. Keeping Your Telescope Clean
|IMPORTANT NOTICE! Never use a telescope or spotting scope to look at the Sun! Observing the Sun, even for the shortest fraction of a second, will cause irreversible damage to your eye as well as physical damage to the telescope or spotting scope itself. |
Prevention is the best recommendation that a telescope owner can follow
in keeping astronomical equipment in top working order. Proper measures
taken during observations and when storing the equipment between observation
runs can add many years of trouble free use.
Dust and moisture are the two main enemies to your instrument. When observing,
always use the Dew Shield (1, Fig. 4). The Dew Shield not only helps prevent
dew from forming, and dust from settling on the lens, it prevents stray
light from reducing image contrast.
Although dew shields go a long way to prevent moisture build-up, there can
be times when the telescope optics will have a uniform coating of moist
dew. This is not particularly harmful, as long as the dew is allowed to
evaporate from the instrument, accomplished by setting up the telescope
indoors with the dust covers removed.
Never attempt to wipe down optics that are covered with dew. Dust and
dirt may be trapped with the collected dew, and upon wiping the optics you
may scratch them. After the dew has evaporated you will most likely find
the optics in fine condition for the next observing session.
If you live in a very moist climate, you may find it necessary to use silica
dessicant stored in the telescope's case to ward off moisture and the possibility
of fungus growing on and within the coatings of the optics. Replace the
silica dessicant as often as necessary.
Those living in coastal areas or tropic zones should also cover the electronic
ports on the optional Power Panel and the Keypad with gaffers tape to reduce
corrosion on the metal contacts. Apply a dab of a water displacement solution
(such as WD-40) with a small brush on all of the interior metal contacts
and the input cord metal contacts. The Keypad and all separate accessories
should be kept in sealable plastic bags with silica dessicant.
A thick layer of dust will attract and absorb moisture on all exposed surfaces.
Left unattended, it can cause damaging corrosion. To keep dust at bay when
observing, the telescope can be set up on a small section of indoor/ outdoor
carpet. If you are observing for more than one night in a row, the telescope
can be left set up but covered with a large plastic bag (such as the one
supplied with the telescope). Eyepieces, diagonals, and other accessories
are best kept in plastic bags and stored in cases, such as the Meade #50
All of the non optical surfaces of the telescope should be cleaned routinely
with a soft rag and alcohol to prevent corrosion. The cast metal surfaces
and the individual exposed screws can also be kept looking new and corrosion-free
by wiping them down with a water displacement solution (such as WD-40).
Take care not to smear the solution onto any optical surface, and to wipe
up any excess solution with a clean dry cloth. The painted tube can be polished
with a liquid car polish and a soft rag.
Surprisingly, the most common telescope maintenance error is cleaning the
optics too often. A little dust on any of the optical surfaces causes virtually
zero degradation of optical performance. It should be of no concern whatsoever
to see some small particles on the inside or outside of telescope optics.
Should the optics get more dust on them than you would care for, simply
use a photographic grade camel hair brush with very gentle strokes.
You can also blow off dust with an ear syringe (available from a local pharmacy).
There is a point, however, when the optics must be cleaned. This is when
you can easily tell that there is a thin layer of fine particulates that
make the optics look very slightly hazy. When the objective lens of the
telescope requires cleaning, the optical tube assembly should be returned
to Meade Instruments, where the optics will be professionally disassembled
and cleaned for a reasonable charge. Do not attempt to disassemble or
clean the lenses yourself. Disassembling, cleaning, reassembling, and collimating
an apochromatic lens is a task properly performed only by specially-trained
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2. Factory Servicing and Repairs
Meade apochromatic refracting telescopes have been designed and manufactured
for years of trouble-free operation and repairs should rarely be necessary.
If a problem does occur, first write or call our Customer Service Department.
Do not return the telescope until you have communicated with us in this
way, since the great majority of the problems can be handled without the
return of the telescope to us. However, should the occasion arise that the
instrument requires factory servicing, a Meade Instruments Customer Service
Representative will issue a Return Goods Authorization (RGA) number and
give you full instructions on how to use it. Returning a telescope without
the RGA may greatly delay any servicing or repairs. When telephoning or
writing, please explain the exact nature of the problem so that we may offer
a prompt remedial procedure. Be sure to include your full name, address,
phone and fax numbers where you can be reached.
Should you live outside of the United States, contact your Authorized Meade Distributor from whom you purchased the instrument.
You can reach the Meade Instruments Customer Service Department either by
mail, phone, or fax at: