Can You Use A Telescope Through A Window?

Sometimes people either don’t have time to find the best location or don’t have many spaces in their area where they can stargaze without disturbances. Thus, most of them think about their house as an option for the time when they decide to indulge in astronomy. Installing a telescope in the backyard, or even the rooftop, is amongst the alternatives, despite it not being as open as a park (or a mountain) would be.

Indoor observation might seem like a tempting idea, especially since it removes the inconvenience of moving the telescope from home to an open area. This without mentioning how comfortable it sounds to place it on the window and call it a day. However, the most experienced stargazers advice against this practice because of the difference between indoor and outdoor temperatures while exploring the night sky from home, but more on that later. The same phenomenon happens if the observers are close to a building.

Many people would choose a balcony when they don’t have a backyard to rely on, nor a rooftop of their own, which applies to those who live in an apartment. The most experienced of them would agree that, as long as the temperature doesn’t differ from outdoors, it should be fine for anyone to store the telescope there. Of course, this will only be effective if they’re stargazing on their side of the building, and there aren’t any nearby, preventing major obstacles that would put a dampen on the exploration of the night sky.

No outside space stargaze now what?

Now, what happens with those who sadly don’t have a balcony? Simple: The window becomes the next logical option. However, one would be surprised to find out that it’s not as good as it might sound. The reasons for this can be summed up in two categories: ‘indoor vs. outdoors’ temperature, which seems to be a common theme when it comes to stargazing in the city, and viewing quality, something that will be explained in the sections below.

With that being said, is it possible for a telescope to look through a window? Well, the thing is that the glass they’re made of doesn’t provide the same viewing quality as going outside. This is mainly because it tends to distort the image to the point it would become annoying regardless of the level of patience the user has. One idea to counteract this is to open the window and set it on the window frame, although this doesn’t come without drawbacks.

Now, there’s a reason behind why the image gets corrupted. It might seem evident, but the glass used for the windows and telescopes are completely different. Thus, the former distorts the light that the latter would be receiving. Another thing: The temperature on the outside differs from the one on the inside. Not only that, but also the air currents flowing to and from the window can also make things harder for stargazers, completely ruining any chance to have a decent view.

The main reason its your image gets distorted

When speaking about the light getting distorted, there are a few things to keep in mind. For starters, the mirror inside the lens has been polished to detect 1/4 of the wavelength of light, which means that they’re capable of being excellent receptacles. Sadly, this is not the case for the windows, mainly because the glass tends to lose around 8% to 9% of the light, which is the reason behind it getting distorted.

So don’t look through a window or can we…

Despite not being recommended, it is not entirely impossible to use a telescope through a window. If the observer doesn’t mind the drop in quality, they can still do it. Also, setting up the equipment beside it is a must, as well as pointing it towards the object that the person wishes to observe. One thing to remember is that the closed window will now act as a lens, which is why it cannot be stressed enough how it will affect the quality considerably.

While it’s important to look for the right place to set up a telescope, sometimes the options are limited for those who wish to partake in this interesting hobby. It takes a little bit of creativity to put a spin on the obstacles that might arise, something that applies to not only astronomy but also anything in general. Now, to explore the cosmos!

If you are on the lookout for the Best Beginner Telescope or just want some advice on different types of telescope, check out our telescope guide section.