The telescopes for hire at Dark Sky Telescope Hire open windows to a universe that would otherwise stay hidden from our eyes. Tens of thousands of astronomical delights await, all of which can be seen from your own back garden.
See the Moon in stunning high definition. Individual craters are resolved with breathtaking clarity, as are mountain chains, ancient lava flows and ray systems across the Moon’s surface. Watch as features change in appearance through the different Moon phases, and capture it all on your camera simply by holding your camera lens to the front of the telescope’s eyepiece lens.
Jupiter and Saturn are simply awesome through our telescopes. On Jupiter our hire telescopes reveal the planet’s cloud bands and the Great Red Spot. You’ll also get to see fine detail in the bands like swirls, bays, dark barges and white spots. Saturn reveals her rings in all their glory. You may even be able to make out the main division between the rings and bands on the planet itself.
Looking to the stars there are countless gorgeous star clusters to view, and you’ll have the chance to peer into the heart of globular clusters and resolve their glow into individual stars. Intricate swirling nebula and the soft glowing light from ancient and distant galaxies beyond our own Milky Way are also on the menu.
The thrill of visual astronomy is often in seeing something at incomprehensible distances with our own eyes. With the telescopes we have for hire you’ll be able to see the light from galaxies that are as distant as 60 million light years away.
Think about that for a moment. Not only will you see something so distant that it would take 60 million years to reach from Earth at the speed of light, but you’ll also be peering back in time to 60 million years into the past. It’s time travel!
But where do you look? We supply detailed observing guides tailored to the appearance of the night sky at the time you hire your scope. Just as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west so the stars move across the sky through the night. Our guides will help you find some great objects in the evening and morning skies — and we’ll also tailor the guide to the month in which you hire the telescope. As the Earth moves around the Sun in its 365-day year, so the segment of the sky we get to see from Earth also changes. Our guides take into account these shifts in star patterns through the year.
Once you know where to look it’s a matter of familiarising yourself with the night sky, and especially the brighter stars you can see – and then star-hopping to them using a small finderscope set atop your telescope.
All of our telescopes for hire come with finderscopes to help you star-hop between fainter stars to reach the object you’re searching for.
Once you’re in the right place here’s what you need to do to get the most out of your observing experience:
1 – Get your eyes dark adapted. Often you’ll need 20-30 minutes stood outside in the dark to get your night vision optimised. Once your eyes are dark adapted it is much easier to see faint detail through the eyepiece.
2 – Let your scope cool down to ambient temperature. When you bring a telescope outside from a warm location, air currents in and around the tube will disturb the view you get through the eyepiece. Objects will appear to undulate and boil as warm and cool air exchange. Allow at least 30 minutes in the summer and an hour on a cold winter’s night for your telescope to cool down and produce a smoother view.
3 – Spend another 20-30 minutes letting the object drift through your field of view in the eyepiece. It is best to relax your eyes into the view. Let your point of focus wander around the object and off to the side of it. Sometimes you can pick up more detail when you’re looking slightly to the side of an object rather than directly at it.
4 – Sometimes unstable air currents in the atmopshere can make viewing difficult. If the image seems to continually wobble around then it is likely that the state of the atmosphere in the sky above you is going to limit the amount of detail you can see. If the image is steady you can try stepping up the eyepiece magnification to see more detail.
5 – Light from external sources can be a real problem. If you live in a town or city, street lighting is going to affect your view of fainter objects. That said, even from the middle of city the size of Leicester you’ll be able to pick out hundreds of deep sky objects and make many other exciting discoveries. Galaxies and other faint objects where the light source is diffuse can be difficult to see when the moon is out.