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Observing by the Ocean

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#1 System Shock

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 08:45 PM

Hello,

 

Not sure if this is the correct place for this topic but I think I'm going to start participating more on these forums.

 

All I'm wondering is if it would be a bad idea to take a metal collapsible Dobsonian and use it by the ocean? I have a shroud and a little guard behind my secondary mirror to block out light, however both sides are exposed.

 

The spot I'd be looking to use is sort of a jetty that is actually a parking lot surrounded by ocean water, I will not be taking it by the sand or anything but simply in the parking a lot away from the water. The water around the area itself is calm so there will be no fear of splashes however I am curious to as if the wind would cause significant damage to the optics or even the metal body of the scope.

 

Has anyone frequently used their equipment by any ocean or exposed it to ocean air? My thoughts are that I'd be fine I would just need to give it a quick wipedown afterwards and maybe use some optical cleaner to get any salt film that may of found it's way on the glass. Kind of a pain but I am fully willing to do it.

 

Any thoughts?



#2 Aleko

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 08:58 PM

Some of my best observing has been by the ocean (technically the Gulf).  After a week's vacation and observing in the salt air, I wipe down the scope, and wash the mirror or clean the lens. Now if you live by the ocean and are observing there on a regular basis, it would still be a good idea to occasionally wipe down the scope, and give the mirror a rinse (or gently clean the lens). Salt grime can build up pretty quickly.

 

Scopes are meant to be used. It does no one any good to keep it locked away because you're afraid of wear and tear on the scope.  A bit of cleanup after being at the beach, and you should be ok. I've never had a problem, and I've been going to the beach every year for years.



#3 ShaulaB

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 09:16 PM

Wind should not be a problem for the scope itself. Since it is a collapsible Dob, it is heavy enough so it will not get knocked over by wind. The view in the eyepiece might jiggle as the wind pushes on the ota.

 

Using a metal 6" reflector many years ago, on a windy night, it made a sound like when you blow across the top of a glass Coke bottle. Kind of funny.



#4 System Shock

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 10:04 PM

Wind should not be a problem for the scope itself. Since it is a collapsible Dob, it is heavy enough so it will not get knocked over by wind. The view in the eyepiece might jiggle as the wind pushes on the ota.

 

Using a metal 6" reflector many years ago, on a windy night, it made a sound like when you blow across the top of a glass Coke bottle. Kind of funny.

Some of my best observing has been by the ocean (technically the Gulf).  After a week's vacation and observing in the salt air, I wipe down the scope, and wash the mirror or clean the lens. Now if you live by the ocean and are observing there on a regular basis, it would still be a good idea to occasionally wipe down the scope, and give the mirror a rinse (or gently clean the lens). Salt grime can build up pretty quickly.

 

Scopes are meant to be used. It does no one any good to keep it locked away because you're afraid of wear and tear on the scope.  A bit of cleanup after being at the beach, and you should be ok. I've never had a problem, and I've been going to the beach every year for years.

 

Sounds good I'll definitely make sure I give it a quick wipe down but have either of you ever noticed any film or residue left on your mirrors? Possibly salt deposit?



#5 Napp

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Posted 14 January 2020 - 10:46 PM

One of my clubs has a monthly outreach in a beachside parking lot in a city park.  Another club has a dark site at a beachside parking lot.  I go to the Winter Star Party each year where everyone sets up their scopes along the water at a Girl Scout camp in the Florida Keys.  I haven’t noticed any ill affects to equipment as a result.


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#6 Greyhaven

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Posted 15 January 2020 - 08:56 AM

As a Maine astronomer I can attest to the only negative in setting up along the shore of the Gulf of Maine would be setting up on the wrong side of the high water line.confused1.gif

Grey


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#7 System Shock

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Posted 16 January 2020 - 10:33 AM

As a Maine astronomer I can attest to the only negative in setting up along the shore of the Gulf of Maine would be setting up on the wrong side of the high water line.confused1.gif

Grey

Interestingly enough this spot is located in Wells Maine. Not the darkest of locations but much better than my home near Boston. We have a family vacation house I'd like to start using my equipment at.

 

Off topic but could you share any locations you use to observe throughout Maine? I have been searching for a long time now but have only came up with observatories throughout the state.



#8 Greyhaven

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Posted 16 January 2020 - 11:28 AM

I no longer travel to dark skies around the state. A few years back I would travel up near Rangeley Lake where I used popular turn out that was far enough off the highway so passing vehicle lights were not an issue for visual observing but the area was too heavily trafficked for any AP. I built my own small observatory for use at home, not a dark sky spot,but oh so convenient. Have you checked with this CLUB? They were meeting at USM Portland at the Planetarium when I was a member  and had a couple of observation areas in the Portland area.

Grey 




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