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CLEANING MIRROR TELESCOPES

18

CLEANING YOUR OPTICS

Cont'd.

MIRRORS

For telescope main and secondary mirrors, when they are cleaned properly, a small amount of reflectivity or light gathering is lost because of the cleaning. A balance needs comparing to whether it's worth cleaning or letting dust and other foriegn matter build up. As a rough guide, unless the mirror happens to get dirty accidently, I would clean it only 2-3 times at most, as a matter of maintenance, throughout the aluminium coating's life (8-10years). Even the careful cleaning of telescope mirrors can cause scratches sometimes and if it's poorly cleaned, a dirty mirror will work better!
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First of all the mirror needs to be removed from it's mount. After removal, most of the dust and foriegn matter can be removed with a soft brush (camel hair is best). Next, preferably on or in the kitchen sink, place a solution of warm water and dish washing liquid onto the mirror to soak any sharp bits off the mirror surface. Let the solution soak and then tip it off. Place another solution onto the mirror and using a soft cloth, a well washed cloth makes it softer, swirl the solution around the mirror gently to remove any dirt that has been soaked off or is still sitting on the mirror. The less swirling, the better. Finally rinse the mirror with distilled water and let it dry on it's side to prevent watermarks. Small droplets which remain on the surface can be removed with the corner of a tissue or cloth without touching the surface. Generally if the mirror is cleaned properly, there will be minimal droplets left. Re-install the mirror when it is dry.

Keeping your optics clean will reduce the amount of dew since dust particles promote condensation.

TELESCOPE LINKS:

Basics
Mounts
Light Gathering Power
Closer Look At Refractors
Closer Look At Reflectors
Dimensions
Balancing
Eyepieces
Tips
Astrophotography
Build Your Own Telescope
Build Your Own Telescope
for Schools
Binoculars

END OF CLEANING MIRROR TELESCOPES SECTION

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