The following tips may be helpful.

1. Always carry with two hands – one hand on the arm, one hand on the base.

2. The eyepiece, also called the ocular, is where you look through. Many microscopes may have a pointer inside. This pointer, also called a micrometer or a reticule, may have a tiny ruler on it for measuring. Do not remove the eyepiece as dust can get into the tube of the microscope.

3. The stage is the platform where the microscope slide will rest. This microscope stage will usually have stage clips to hold the slide in place. More advanced microscopes may have a mechanical stage – a device with turning knobs that will move the slide for you. Keep the stage clean. Remove any spills, liquids or debris right away.

4.  Under the microscope stage is usually a rotating diaphragm. The disk diaphragm controls the amount of light coming from the bottom light up through the slide. The larger the hole, the more light that will pass. This makes the image brighter. Turn the diaphragm to a smaller hole if the image is too bright. The more advanced microscopes may have an ABBE condenser, a device that controls and focuses the incoming light with more precision than a diaphragm.

5.  When cleaning your microscope, use only lens paper. Do NOT clean your microscope with a Kleenex, paper towel, your shirt sleeve, etc. The eyepiece and the objectives should be cleaned before and after each use.

6. Your microscope will have one or two focusing knobs on each side. The larger knob is the coarse focus; it does a larger range of focus. The smaller, fine focus knob, will fine tune your focusing. Always start with the coarse focus, and then proceed to the fine focus. Once you have focus, changing to different magnifications (rotating objectives) should only require adjusting the fine focus.

7.  When you first put the slide under the microscope, start with the lowest/smallest objective. Objectives are the 3 or 4 devices that will change your magnification. These usually will rotate on a turret. Once you have the image in focus using the lowest setting, then move to the next objective. You should not skip objectives. Proceed in order until you are at the magnification desired.

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