If you're an amateur astronomer, you probably have a telescope that you drag out for the odd celestial occasion. If it's a budget telescope you wish were just a little better, these tips can help you make the most of your stargazing gear without breaking the bank.
First off, none of the suggestions are going to drastically improve the optics of your telescope, so don't expect to be able to massively extend the viewing range or make it a higher grade of telescope. What from Instructables user tholoptami's tricks will do however is make your telescope easier to sight with and view through, boost a few of its features and make it easier to travel with -- you know, in case you pack it in the car and go somewhere without light pollution. For example, tholoptami has a great guide to improving or building your own finder scope so it's easier to sight objects before you centre the telescope on them. If that's too much work, he even suggests an easy way to stabilise it with some zip ties and plastic foam so it's more secure and easier to use.
There are a number of other tips in the piece and some great DIY projects for would-be astronomers and part-time stargazers alike. Hit the link below to see them all. Do you head out at night to look at the sky? Have you made any modifications to your gear? Take it from someone who's spent many a cold night in an open-ceiling observatory, any improvements you can make to your gear help when your hands are shaking from the cold! Share your tips in the comments below.
12 Improvements for a Cheap Telescope [Instructables]