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CARE OF OPTICS AND CLEANING

  Scope City's Optics Crash Course
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PART IX. CARE OF OPTICS AND CLEANING

CLEANING EYEPIECES

The easiest way to clean eyepieces is with Q-Tips and a good lens cleaner. In the absence of a good lens cleaner product, pure isopropyl alcohol (available at most pharmacies, and diluted to 70% is OK) can be used.

First, use a blower bulb (like an ear syringe) or a can of compressed air to blow off all dust visible on the lens surface.

Then, put a drop of cleaning fluid on the Q-Tip. Never put the fluid directly on the lens, as this will inevitably result in too much fluid being applied, and excess fluid can easily wick around the edges of eyepiece lenses and get in between them. Then, using "daisy petal" motions (oval motions traveling from edge of lens to just past the center), turn the eyepiece under the moving Q-Tip until the entire surface is cleaned.

Immediately turn the Q-Tip around and repeat the action, mopping up the fluid and dirt as you go.

After a couple passes, replace this Q-Tip with a clean one and continue until all the fluid and/or haze on the lens surface is gone. When you examine the eyepiece lens at a low angle in bright light, there should be no haze, streaks, grease, or oils visible. If the eyepiece lens is very dirty, you may need to repeat this to completely clean the lens.

The eyepiece lens closest to the eye (called the Eye Lens) is usually the one that gets dirty. The lens farthest away from the eye (called the Field Lens) rarely gets dirty.

To keep your eyepieces clean when not in use, keep them capped at both ends, even when in a case.

CLEANING LARGER LENSES

To clean the surface of a large objective lens, or the corrector plate of a Schmidt-Cassegrain or Maksutov-Cassegrain telescope, the eyepiece technique needs only to be modified a bit:

Clean the lens in small sections (say 2-4 square inches) at a time, using sterile cotton balls or wipes (be CERTAIN these have no additives or lotion on them), and proceed around the lens until the whole surface is done. Use the same procedure as the eyepiece cleaning to verify you have completely cleaned the lens surface.

CLEANING THE MIRRORS IN A REFLECTOR TELESCOPE

First, remember this: CLEAN A MIRROR ONLY WHEN YOU HAVE TO. Those aluminized surfaces are deposited directly on the glass-there is no layer of glass on top of them-so they are delicate and easily damaged.

What follows is the simplest technique to clean the mirror, and will result in no damage to the optical surface. NEVER use Windex. NEVER wipe the mirror when dry.

Blow the dust off and hold the mirror at a low angle under gently-running tap water to get the surface dust off (note: no brushes!!!). Then, immerse in a rubber/plastic pan with enough distilled water in it to cover the mirror. Always use distilled water to prevent chemical reaction with the mirror coatings. IF the mirror was stained (not just dust) from dampness cementing pollen onto its surface, ONE drop of dishwashing detergent (the basic kind without any additives like hand lotion) in the plastic pan (one drop to 2 or more gallons, and allowed to sit until no visible foam is there) will help soak the mirror stains away. After letting it sit for 10-20 minutes, swirl the water over the mirror by moving the mirror around. Did all the stuff blow off the mirror? Then move to a rinse. Is the stuff still there? Then use sterile cotton balls from the pharmacy to *gently* drag across the mirror surface, using one ball per swipe (do not make two swipes with one ball) until clean.

*Gently*.

Use tap water to rinse all water off the mirror (or alcohol/water mix in a sprayer), and dip the mirror into a second pan with distilled water without any soap added. Swirl the water around to get anything left on the mirror surface off.

Remove the mirror from the pan on its edge, letting the surface tension of the water pull all the drops down. Removing the mirror from the water slowly helps in this regard. Stand the mirror on its edge and use the corners of pieces of paper towel (brown ones are better for the environment--there is no residue of dioxin used to bleach the paper) to absorb any drops left on the mirror. The mirror should appear quite clean. Leave vertical until the back of the mirror is completely dry, then replace the mirror in the scope. If the mirror is being re-glued, cover the mirror so dust won't accumulate and let dry a few more hours before attempting to re-glue.

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OPTICAL CLEANING & CARE

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Lumicon ROR Lens Cleaner is 1 OZ one drop at a time dispenser
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Lumicon ROR Lens Cleaner is 1 OZ one drop at a time dispenser
Item No. 735-95014
Manuf. No. Lumicon LA3060

ROR is specifically designed to emulsify and remove microscopic oil residues - a by-product of environmental pollution - from the surface and pores of glass and plastic
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Lumicon ROR Lens Cleaner in 2 OZ Spray Bottle
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Lumicon ROR Lens Cleaner in 2 OZ Spray Bottle
Item No. 735-95013
Manuf. No. Lumicon LA3050

ROR is specifically designed to emulsify and remove microscopic oil residues - a by-product of environmental pollution - from the surface and pores of glass and plastic.
MSRP: $10.00
Our Price: $6.95
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Lumicon Blow Off Compressed Vapor Cleaner for Lumicon's Advanced Lens Cleaning Kit
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Lumicon Blow Off Compressed Vapor Cleaner for Lumicon's Advanced Lens Cleaning Kit
Item No. 735-95003
Manuf. No. Lumicon LC3045

Replacement can of Blow Off Compressed Vapor Cleaner, 3.5 oz, for Lumicon's Advanced Lens Cleaning Kit. Contains no CFCs. Perfect non-contact dust removal on filters and lenses.
MSRP: $5.00
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Lumicon Lens Cleaning Tissue
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Lumicon Lens Cleaning Tissue
Item No. 735-95001
Manuf. No. Lumicon LA3025

Lens Cleaning Tissue
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Dust Off 3.5 Ounce
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Dust Off 3.5 Ounce
Item No. 710-90000
Manuf. No. Central Trading Agency FADPSJBA

Compressed air for cleaning optics.
MSRP: $7.00
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Lumicon Advanced Lens Cleaning Kit with Carrying Case
Lumicon Advanced Lens Cleaning Kit with Carrying Case
Item No. 735-95005
Manuf. No. Lumicon LA3011

It includes Cleaning fluid for Multi-coated optics and a hard shell plastic carrying case
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