South Downs Planetarium
& Science Centre
The Place for Space

How to Choose & Use A Telescope.

Saturday 21st September 1.00pm

Course fee: £18 per person. Maximum 25 places

This is an extremely popular course. Please book early to ensure a place.

If you are thinking of getting or giving a Telescope for Christmas, this course is a must to save money and disappointment.

John Mason MBE demonstrating telescope parts
John Mason MBE demonstrating telescope parts


Looking to purchase a telescope but not sure where to begin?

Already own a telescope but not sure how to use it?

Come to the Planetarium for a friendly, informative afternoon under the expert guidance of Dr John Mason, where you will find out everything you need to know about choosing and using your own telescope.

To secure your place you will need to complete the application form:

Download your application form.

Download the course timetable.

Please then print off, complete form and post it back to the Planetarium, enclosing payment. Thank you.


To ensure that you have the best possible experience, please inform us in advance about any disability needs for assistance or special requirements. More about Accessibility here


Tutor: Dr John Mason
Technical Advisors: To be confirmed

1.00-1.30 pm
1.30-1.45 pm
The purpose of the half-day course and what we intend to cover.
1.45-2.10 pm
TYPES OF TELESCOPE – HOW THEY WORK Refractors, reflectors and compound telescopes. How they collect and focus light. The relative importance of light grasp and magnification.
2.10-2.35 pm
TELESCOPE MOUNTS – SETTING UP AND HOW TO USE THEM Types of telescope mounts. How to put your telescope together, where to site it for observing and how to line up the mounting.
2.35-3.00 pm
EYEPIECES, FINDERS & ACCESSORIES Importance of eyepieces. Choosing and using eyepieces. Correct use of magnification. Fitting, aligning and using finderscopes.
3.00-3.30 pm
FINDING OBJECTS IN THE SKY – PROBLEMS AND SOLUTIONS We go into the Planetarium dome to learn how to find your way round the night sky, how to locate objects in the telescope viewfinder and the eyepiece, and using a drive to compensate for the Earth’s rotation.
3.30-4.20 pm
TEA/COFFEE BREAK and WORKSHOP SESSION to focus on key issues requiring solution. Discussions with our telescope experts to focus on the key issues and problems that people want to solve, then working together to solve as many of these problems as we can in the time available.
4.20-4.30 pm
REVIEW OF COURSE Any key issues brought up in the group workshop session. What has been useful from this course, and what are the next steps for all of the delegates.
4.30 pm CLOSE

Tripadvisor Certificate of Excellence

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