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How do you store your telescope ?

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#1 Abhat

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Posted 02 December 2014 - 03:37 PM

I am curious to know how other folks store their scope after it is brought back in from an observing session.

 

After my observing session, I bring the scope in. The condensation starts forming a very second the scope comes into my humidity controlled home. I let the condensation evaporate. Once its fully evaporated and the objective looks dry and clean, I put the dust caps back.

 

The scopes sit in my living room or the guest room until the next observing sessions. The scopes could stay on the mount for weeks until the next clear night arrives.

 

 



#2 rowdy388

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Posted 02 December 2014 - 03:59 PM

My scopes stay in an unheated, enclosed porch.  They are completely protected from critters and moisture and are always at or very near ambient temperature.

The biggest is a 12 inch which is on wheels and rolls out to the observing deck.  When finished observing for the night there may be some dew on the equipment.  I leave everything uncovered after bringing it back on the porch.  The moisture usually is completely gone in 30 minutes or less.  Because the porch is unheated, no extra fogging occurs after bringing it inside.  My eyepieces and anything with batteries is stored in cases inside the heated house after drying completely on the porch. 

Dave Y



#3 ChristianG

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Posted 02 December 2014 - 04:21 PM

Hi.

 

I think it's been discussed before. Anyway, in absolute quantity, cold air can not contain as much humidity as warm air. Even if a house is humidity-controlled, there is a good chance that the outside Winter air is drier, in an absolute way.

 

So in the Winter I believe it's better to put all the caps back on before coming in, thus trapping dry air in there, and letting the whole thing warm up slowly inside. That way, the amount of condensation on the objective lenses etc. will be minimal.

 

If you repeatedly have a lot of condensation on your lenses, you run the risk that some dust particles will end up essentially glued there, making it more difficult to clean later, with the risk of damaging the anti-reflection coatings.

 

I always put the caps back on as soon as I'm done observing, telescopes and eyepieces. Have fun!

 

--Christian


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#4 OrdinaryLight

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Posted 02 December 2014 - 04:56 PM

Most of my scopes are packed in cases or bags and stored in closets. In the past I did as you do, brought the scope in, let the condensation form and evaporate, then cap and pack it away. I never felt great about this and the delay in packing up the scope was inconvenient.

 

I've since come to use an unheated breezeway/mud room as a staging area as doing the unpacking and repacking here prevents condensation from forming on the scope when they are brought into the warm house. My 10" Dob is currently stored here.

 

If this wasn't available I would do as Christian suggests and at least cap the ends of the scope before bringing it inside to prevent condensation from forming on the optical surfaces. I'd probably go a step further and bring the scope's bag or case outside. This hurts grab and go availability but so does the fact that I need to bundle up before going out in these temps.



#5 Tony Flanders

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Posted 02 December 2014 - 05:22 PM

Letting condensation form on the outside of your telescope is just fine. Letting it form on the objective is a very bad idea, because when the condensation dries, the impurities that came with it will remain.

So for refractors I cap the objectives before bringing them inside. My 7-inch Dob can be completely sealed back and front. With my 12.5-inch truss-tube, during the cold seasons, I heat the mirror with a hair blower or space heater to prevent condensation from forming.
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#6 bumm

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Posted 02 December 2014 - 09:30 PM

I cap the optics before bringing the scope in, then let it warm up, then uncap things to let any condensed moisture escape, then recap and store in the case.

                                                                               Marty


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#7 james7ca

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Posted 02 December 2014 - 10:05 PM

If there is a lot of moisture (i.e. dew) then I dry the external parts of my scope and mount using cotton towels or micro fiber cloths. If I think there is any dew on the objective then I use a low-power, low-flow heater to remove it before I replace the lens cap (all done outside before bringing the scope indoors). Normally, however, if there is any hint of dew I'm using a dew heater, so seeing moisture on the objective is a rare event (and thus I use the heater rarely and only as a last resort). For my smaller scopes, I have on occasion wrapped them in a plastic garbage bag before I bring then indoors (only when it is cold and dry outside, to prevent condensation when they are moved inside to the warner and more humid interior space). Recently, I've been placing bags of desiccant inside of the dew shield of my large refractor and then sealing that all up with the lens cap (the scope is stored in a level, horizontal position either in a case or mounted to my GEM).

 

You can purchase bags of silica gel desiccant on Amazon, it's really not that expensive when purchased in bulk. I got a package of 20, 10 gram bags for $10 (U.S.).  I figure this supply should last me at least one year, I use one or two of the bags for a few weeks and then throw them out (I could try to re-charge them, but at 50 cents per bag it really isn't worth the effort and the energy cost to heat them dry would probably be more than the simple replacement cost). A hint, I attach a note with the word "SILICA" to the outside of the scope, that way I know to remove the bags before I move the telescope. 



#8 Feidb

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Posted 02 December 2014 - 10:16 PM

Since I live in Las Vegas, I don't have a dew problem. A dust problem, yeah, but dew, no. My commercial Dob sits in its place in the garage, stacked and ready to go. My home-built Dob used to sit there, taking up twice the space. Now, that home-built scope sits in my storage shed in the back yard, buried under scrap wood and yard tools.

 

I keep the optics covered to at least keep some of the dust off, though a little creeps in no matter how careful you are. As for anything else, it's not an issue. Temp wise, they cook in the severe heat but then again, they acclimate pretty fast when I throw them in the truck for a night out at the observing site. The OTA of the commercial scope goes in the air conditioned cab if it's summer, the heated cab if it's winter. If we're going on a long trip, it sits in the back bed with the mount and the ice chest and everything else. Basically, it's just "moderately delicate luggage" until I'm ready to set it up.

 

Oh, and I learned a long time ago to put duct tape on the collimation knobs. They have a tendency to back out on those bumpy roads!

 

Another thing. I'm a woodworker, so being in the garage, the scope is exposed to a lot of sawdust besides regular dust. My optics still stay clean for years. Those covers work wonders.



#9 mich_al

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Posted 02 December 2014 - 11:14 PM

When I used to bring my scope in after observing I kept it in a plastic box.  In the Winter the box went outside with the scope.  When I was finished observing the scope went into the box, caps off. I then added deseccant bags and closed the box before bringing it inside. This way the scope warms up slowly and gets much less condensation.  After the temp equalized, usually the next morning, I open the box and put on the lens covers.  Later I recover the box for dust control.



#10 esd726

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Posted 03 December 2014 - 12:25 AM

  They live in the [finished] basement with the caps on them.  When wanting to view I open the sliding glass door to the patio and set them up.



#11 RussL

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Posted 03 December 2014 - 07:53 AM

I store my scopes in the living room, caps on.  After a session I cap the optics, bring it all in and forget about it.  Once in awhile I'll clean the objective.  I'm talking about refractors here.  The Newt and SCT don't go out much anymore.  But if they do, it's the same routine, although I haven't cleaned the mirrors in the Newt since they were recoated back in 1987.  Still look good, though.  The SCT has never been cleaned since I inherited it in 2008.  It's was never cleaned by my dad either since he bouht it in 1999.  But I do clean the corrector sometimes.  If I ever have to clean the inside of my refractors or the SCT, it'll be a pain.  Anyway, I've yet to have any dew calamities, knock on wood.



#12 epee

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Posted 03 December 2014 - 08:29 AM

My scopes live in an unheated, and rather open, detached garage/shed. I use and then re-cap them (the Dob has a "sleep cap" over the rear) and then drape an old sheet over them to protect the bearings and focusers from dust and pollen.



#13 MikeBOKC

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Posted 03 December 2014 - 08:55 AM

In the garage, but everything is in sealed cases.



#14 evan9162

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Posted 03 December 2014 - 11:05 AM

Cap and case everything before bringing it inside.  If there is a lot of frost on the corrector of my SCTs, then I will uncap them the next day to make sure any residual moisture evaporates.

 

In the winter, as long as I don't have other projects going on (especially woodworking), I intend to keep everything in the garage (unheated, typically 20* cooler than the house) to reduce cooldown times and condensation after bringing things back in.



#15 galexand

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Posted 03 December 2014 - 01:37 PM

if it's hotter inside than out (winter time!), i put the caps on, then i bring it in, then i sleep.  condensation forms mostly on the outside of the telescope where it is harmless.

 

if it is colder inside than out, then i would leave the caps off for some time so that i do not trap moist warm air inside the tube where it will "rain" as it cools.  however, i don't have a/c, so this never actually happens.



#16 bumm

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Posted 03 December 2014 - 03:04 PM

James7ca was saying:

You can purchase bags of silica gel desiccant on Amazon, it's really not that expensive when purchased in bulk. I got a package of 20, 10 gram bags for $10 (U.S.).  I figure this supply should last me at least one year, I use one or two of the bags for a few weeks and then throw them out (I could try to re-charge them, but at 50 cents per bag it really isn't worth the effort and the energy cost to heat them dry would probably be more than the simple replacement cost). A hint, I attach a note with the word "SILICA" to the outside of the scope, that way I know to remove the bags before I move the telescope.

 

I store my scope in it's case with one of those desiccant things with a color indicator to show when it's saturated, (which doesn't take too long,) then I can plug it in overnight to dry it out again. 

                                                       Marty



#17 gunfighter48

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Posted 04 December 2014 - 12:22 AM

My 4" C102GT rides in an Orion soft case, my LS8 is in a JMI case with large wheels, my ES AR152 6" Refractor is in a RoadCasesUSA wooden foam lined case, and my C9.25 is in a large Stanley foam lined case.  All of them are stored in a spare bedroom in my apartment. It's dry and warm, so no worries about rust and I'm always messing with them so I'm able to monitor their stored condition.



#18 Tony Flanders

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Posted 04 December 2014 - 05:14 AM

If there is a lot of moisture (i.e. dew) then I dry the external parts of my scope and mount using cotton towels or micro fiber cloths. ... Recently, I've been placing bags of desiccant inside of the dew shield of my large refractor and then sealing that all up with the lens cap (the scope is stored in a level, horizontal position either in a case or mounted to my GEM).


All of this is probably a good idea, and at worst it certainly can't hurt!

However, I can't help thinking this is partly the effect of living in California. If, like me, you lived in a place where telescopes are soaked in dew 90% of all times you used them -- and 100% of the time when you bring them inside in the winter -- you might take a more casual attitude toward the problem.

I can't imagine drying my 12.5-inch Dob with a towel; far too much trouble!

#19 james7ca

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Posted 04 December 2014 - 05:49 AM

 

If there is a lot of moisture (i.e. dew) then I dry the external parts of my scope and mount using cotton towels or micro fiber cloths. ... Recently, I've been placing bags of desiccant inside of the dew shield of my large refractor and then sealing that all up with the lens cap (the scope is stored in a level, horizontal position either in a case or mounted to my GEM).


All of this is probably a good idea, and at worst it certainly can't hurt!

However, I can't help thinking this is partly the effect of living in California. If, like me, you lived in a place where telescopes are soaked in dew 90% of all times you used them -- and 100% of the time when you bring them inside in the winter -- you might take a more casual attitude toward the problem.

I can't imagine drying my 12.5-inch Dob with a towel; far too much trouble!

 

Actually, I live within about six miles of the Pacific coast and we get dew on most nights. On some evenings it is so bad that it drips from the roofline of the house to form small puddles and after several hours there are full drops and beads of water on the scope, but on those nights I'm using dew heaters so for the most part only the external parts of the scope and mount get wet (with some moisture on the camera). However, at my "dark" sites that are 30 or more miles inland I've only had problems with dew once (I say "dark" because I'm not aware of any truly dark places in southern California).



#20 Binojunky

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Posted 04 December 2014 - 12:02 PM

Mine sleeps in the bed with me, after pushing my wife out and telling her to take the sofa, :lol:  DA.


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#21 Achernar

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Posted 06 December 2014 - 12:09 PM

My telescopes are stored indoors when not in use. I can roll or carry them into or out of the house through a side door. When not in use they occupy a corner of the living room. Since I have three cats, the smallest telescope is capped with ladies shower caps and the larger telescopes mirror boxes have the cover in place. That way kitty won't discover a shiny, cool and comfy place to sleep.

 

Taras



#22 sickfish

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Posted 06 December 2014 - 12:21 PM

Shed. They are ready to go anytime.



#23 star drop

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Posted 06 December 2014 - 01:18 PM

In a ventilated shed.



#24 mogur

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Posted 06 December 2014 - 06:55 PM

In an unheated garage. Covered or in cases. Always near outdoor air temp so that equalization is fast.



#25 clmurphy74

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Posted 09 December 2014 - 05:52 PM

I keep the dust cap on till I'm outside, and then take it off.  When I'm done observing, I re-cap the telescope then bring it inside.  I store the OTA standing straight up (with dust cap on) on the base and don't mess with it until I'm ready to take it outside again. 

 

The last time I took it outside before sunset, I did notice some flecks of dust on the main mirror, but as this didn't affect the view, I've left the mirror as is.


Edited by clmurphy74, 09 December 2014 - 05:52 PM.



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