Stargazing is a wonderful experience and Western Australia is blessed with some of the darkest and clearest skies in the world, so why wouldn’t you get out there and explore the cosmos!  To guarantee you get the best views possible, we’ve put together the ‘Must Haves’ for your cosmic tool box! 

1. Good Quality Eyepieces

Generally, your telescope will come with a basic set of eyepieces, however a good quality low-power and high-power eyepiece are a great start for your tool kit.  We recommend a 10mm, giving more magnification, therefore enhanced detail for the Moon and planets and a 20mm providing a lower magnification. 

2. Moon Filters

The Moon is a favourite stargazing target however its brightness can be glaring through the eyepiece, degrading detail in the image.  Eyepiece filters can overcome this, such as neutral-density and polarizing filters.  Coloured, glass coated filters are also very effective and can greatly enhance details on the lunar surface.

3. Barlow Lens

The Barlow Lens is a great, cost-effective addition to your tool kit, boosting magnification and extending the focal length, helping telescopes reach their maximum useable power.  This lens will essentially double the number of eyepieces at your disposal.

4. A Telrad

A Telrad is a definite ‘must have’ accessory if you’re having trouble using your finder scope!   It is an easy and accurate finder scope and easy to use.  They are simple to attach to your telescope and with the illuminated red light target ring, night sky objects are easy to lock onto.

5. Red Light Torch

While out under a dark sky, your eyes become used to the darkness, this is what’s called your night-time vision!  Red light doesn’t affect your night- time vision and is a handy tool while stargazing.  There are many red-light torch options available. 

6. Planisphere or Astronomy App

In this world of technical devices and gadgetry, it makes sense to utilise the gizmos designed to make stargazing fun and easy.  Whiz-bang phone apps are excellent with loads of great information, but if you are way out with no phone reception, the good old planisphere will do the trick and help you quickly become familiar with the night sky.

7. Binoculars

Binoculars are great to add to your stargazing kit as they are simple to use and provide a different perspective of the night sky.  Especially good to look at objects such as star clusters as they provide a wider field of view. Cruising the Milky Way has never been so easy!

8. Dew Shield

Certain types of telescopes like a Smidt Cassegrain need a dew shield which is a simple but effective way of keeping your scope from fogging up.  It can be very frustrating after getting all set up, only to find objects becoming dim and hazy.  A dew shield keeps you out under the stars, well into the night.  This link shows you how to make your own.

9. Australian Astronomy Almanac

This is our all-time favourite book. It has everything you need to know about the night sky for the year. From what's up in the night sky to meteor showers, eclipses, star charts, lots of topical astronomy info plus the rising and setting times for the Sun and Moon. This book gives you a diary, months in advance so you can really plan out your stargazing adventures.

Want to learn a little more about eyepieces?

Check out our latest blog and learn more about how eyepieces function and what the perfect eyepiece is!