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Tips for observing with a telescope

First and very important is to dress to keep warm even on a mild night.  The cold can soon begin to spoil the evening if it is not kept out from the start.
If possible, the telescope should be set up on a paved area as this prevents the tripod legs sinking into soft ground and avoids slipping in the dark. 
It would also be preferable to have the telescope overlooking a grassed area because there will be less heat turbulence from the grass.  The edge of a patio or on a path would be a good position.
Brick walls and buildings close to the observing position can retain heat from sunshine during the day and cause heat convection currents in the cold night air. 
 Moving air currents can cause shimmering and degradation of the image.
Avoid lights that shine directly on to the observing position especially from the south.  If there are unavoidable lights then set up a screen using canes and sheets or towels to prevent the light shining directly into the observer’s eyes.
Keep the dust cover on the telescope until it is time to start observing.  It will help to avoid dew forming on the lens of a refracting, Schmidt-Cassegrain or Maksutov telescope.
Make sure all the equipment that might be needed is to hand before starting.  This is to avoid going indoors and spoiling the night vision.  It takes about 20 minutes for our eyes to fully adapt to the dark but less than a second to lose it.
If a star chart is to be used only use a fairly dim red light or else the long sought after full dark adaptation could be lost.
If possible, use a chair at the telescope it is more comfortable and steadier.  It is more difficult to stand still to look through the eyepiece than it is to sit still especially for prolonged periods.
It is useful to make an observing plan before starting to observe.
 Notes of what is intended to be observed can be in the form of written notes or as a chart with notes.  This avoids trying to think about what to look at next. 
 This will not be necessary if it is planned to observe the Moon or one of the planets.  It is well worth getting a planetarium application for your computer to check out what is available to look at from night to night.
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