Vivitar Telescope: Setting It Up and Using It

The line of telescopes made by Vivitar is considered as the best cheap telescopes in the market, and these telescopes are able to provide high-quality image magnification for an affordable price. Once you bought it in hobby shops or in online stores, a box that contains all the parts needed for the telescope to function properly will be given to you.

Assembling and using the telescope is fairly simple, but for those who want to learn how to set it up step-by-step, here is a guide on how to assemble the Vivitar telescope and how to use it to view objects in space. For this guide, we will be using the Vivitar TEL50600 60X/120X Refractor model as a reference since it is the company’s best-seller, and almost all the other Vivitar models have the exact same features and assembly instructions as the TEL50600, although they have different sizes and lengths.

Vivitar TEL50600 60X120X Telescope Refractor with Tripod

Setting It Up

After opening the box, you will see a Styrofoam that houses the telescope’s main tube, the tripod, the finder scope, the mirrored diagonal eyepiece, the 60X eyepiece, and the 120X eyepiece.

The first object that you need to set up is the tripod. You can loosen the thumbscrew at the end of each leg to extend if it is too short for your height, then stand the tripod by pulling its legs outwards. Make sure that the height of the tripod’s legs is symmetrical for it to stand more stable.

Once you are able to make the tripod stand on its own, pull up the panhandle at the top of the accessory until the screw on the mount is pointing upwards. Then, pick up the telescope and look for a hole at the bottom of its body. Place the hole directly on the mount’s screw and rotate either the mount using the pan-handle clockwise until the screw is tightened.

When the telescope is already placed securely on the tripod, loosen the two bolts located at the top of the telescope. Get the finder scope, which looks like a small monocular, and place the holes at the bottom of its mount to the pegs at the top of the telescope. Keep in mind that the longest black part at the end of the finder scope should be facing the same direction as the front of the telescope. Insert the bolts back to the pegs and turn it multiple times until the finder scope won’t move in its place.

At the back of the telescope, turn the knob on the focuser counterclockwise if you want to extend the focuser and clockwise if you’re going to shorten its length. It is recommended that you insert the mirrored diagonal eyepiece at the end of the focuser so that you would be in a much more comfortable position while viewing objects through the telescope diagonally.

Using the Telescope

the moon is a great first space object for beginners to view

Now that you have fully assembled the Vivitar Telescope, it is now time to use it. We recommend that you use it in areas where there are not a lot of streetlights and car lights since these can cause light pollution for your telescope. You should be at an elevated area that is higher than the lights on the road or in the neighborhood, and one of the ideal places for beginners to use the telescope is a second-floor room.

Before moving to the focuser at the back, make sure that you have pulled out the dust protector at the front of the telescope. After taking out the dust protector, you should then use the finder scope to track the object in space that you want to magnify. For first-time telescope users, it is best that they view the moon first because it is the closest heavenly body to the Earth, and it is also the easiest to track.

Although you don’t really need to use the finder scope to track the moon, it is still useful for placing the telescope’s field of view correctly when viewing the object in space. Once you have used the finder scope, you should then take out one of the eyepieces from its tray and insert it on top of the mirrored diagonal eyepiece. Beginners should first start with the 60X eyepiece as its magnifying power is easier to adjust using the knob on the focuser.

When the eyepiece is already in place, look through it, and see if the moon is already visible. If it is blurry, you can adjust the magnification by turning the focuser’s knob clockwise and counterclockwise until you hit a sweet spot where the moon can be seen clearly. If you are already satisfied with viewing the moon at 60X magnifying powers, it is time to move on to the 120X eyepiece.

Pull out the 60X eyepiece, but always remember to put it back to its tray to prevent it from being damaged, then take out the 120X eyepiece and insert it on the mirrored diagonal accessory. You would have to adjust the focuser again using the knobs, as the 120X eyepiece has a different magnifying power, and its sweet spot can be quite challenging to find. If you are successful in finding the sweet spot for the 120X, you will be able to see the surface of the moon with more detail.

The 120X can also be used to see nearby planets like Mars and Venus, but you would have to buy stronger eyepieces for you to view star clusters and nebulae. Vivitar makes telescopes that are more powerful than the TEL50600, like the Vivitar TEL50700, which has 210X and 420X magnification.

As mentioned at the beginning, utilizing the Vivitar telescope is relatively easy, and even kids can view objects in space with ease thanks to its simple viewing instructions. Using a telescope should not be tedious; instead, it should be a fun task that is enjoyable for both children and adults.