How to Set Up a National Geographic Telescope With 18-180x Magnification

Updated July 19, 2017

In the summer of 2010, National Geographic released another in its line of optical gear: the beginner's 50mm Travel Telescope. With a magnification range of 18-180x and a total weight of 2.2lbs, this telescope is designed to be both portable and easy to use. The telescope is easy to assemble and requires no tools to put together.

Remove all of the contents from the box and place them on a flat surface. Open the tripod and spread the legs apart. Press down on the tripod support between the legs until they click into place.

Lift the telescope body and place it over the altazimuth mount -- the top part of the tripod. Slowly lower the telescope body with the bracket facing downward. As you lower the body, align the grooved tongue on the top of the tripod with the bracket on the brace of the telescope tube so that the two pieces slip together.

Locate a hexagon-shaped hole in one of the bracket arms. Insert the nut (included in the original packing) into this hole then insert the altitude lock knob through the tongue and groove and into the nut. Tighten the knob clockwise until it can't turn any farther.

Turn the azimuth lock knob (the three-pointed knob at the top of the tripod) clockwise until you can't turn any more. This fastens the tripod tube assembly to the tripod.

Loosen the small chrome screw on the side of the focus tube. Insert the shiny end of the mirror piece into the focus tube, making sure that the open end (where you put your eye) is facing up. Use your finger to tighten the screw until the mirror is firmly secured in place.

Loosen the screw on the top of the diagonal mirror as you did in Step 5. Find the eyepiece labelled "H20mm" and place it into the top of the diagonal mirror. Turn the screw on the side of the diagonal mirror to tighten it.

Go outside. National Geographic doesn't recommend using the telescope through a window, either open or closed. Air currents, reflections from glass and changes in temperature can affect the optics. Let the telescope adjust to outside air temperature before viewing. This can take up to 30 minutes.

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About the Author

Living in Canada, Andrew Aarons has been writing professionally since 2003. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from the University of Ottawa, where he served as a writer and editor for the university newspaper. Aarons is also a certified computer-support technician.