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Will African Dust Hurt My Refractor?

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18 replies to this topic

#1 k5apl

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Posted 28 June 2020 - 09:15 AM

Question says it all-----

 

BTW I keep my scope inside during Pollen Season.  And, COVID-19 hasn't seemed to affect it so far.


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#2 clusterbuster

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Posted 28 June 2020 - 09:38 AM

I wouldn't think so. Keep the caps on just to be safe.

 Mark



#3 vahe

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Posted 28 June 2020 - 09:38 AM

Yes it will. with the fine sand depositing on the glass if you try to clean by rubbing the glass, no matter how lightly, this thing will act like a sandpaper.

wait a few days before you setup your refractor.

.

Vahe


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#4 Jeronimo Cruz

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Posted 28 June 2020 - 11:49 AM

First limit, if not avoid altogether, exposing the scope to this fine dust. 

 

If I had to clean a lens in this circumstance, I would use an air blowing bulb and then dab with cotton balls and lens solution first to remove fine dust and then wipe (after a thorough dabbing). I would also limit the frequency of lens cleanings. 

 

Dust is fact of life here in AZ. I do not observe when it is windy and dusty. Sometimes when I use a flashlight at night, there is so much dust in the air that it almost looks like its snowing.


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#5 vahe

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Posted 28 June 2020 - 12:39 PM

I live in Houston, hot and humid but despite that we do have our own dust issues.

One thing that makes this particular Saharan Dust a bit different is how fine and microscopic it is compared to our everyday garden variety dust and it is extremely sticky.

One way to see this Dust in action is on a car windshield, clean up your windshield and then let the dust settle on it, get a clean damp white paper towel and pull it across the glass and watch the light brown color on the paper towel.

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Vahe


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#6 payner

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Posted 28 June 2020 - 01:01 PM

I had a clean windshield yesterday morning. While doing repair on my pole barn yesterday in east south-central KY we had two short, light showers. When I got in my truck in the evening, the windshield had light, brown dust that the droplet evaporate left behind. It was covered.


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#7 Bean614

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Posted 28 June 2020 - 06:29 PM

Yes, it will, as noted by others!

 

 But, you also said--- "And, COVID-19 hasn't seemed to affect it so far."     ????

 

Why would you think a Virus would affect it??


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#8 Spikey131

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Posted 28 June 2020 - 09:26 PM

If you keep your scope indoors wrapped in Saran Wrap and foam, no harm will ever come to it.

 

And you will never see the Milky Way wonders in a dark African skies.

 

Telescopes are made to be used.   If the wind is hard, or there are sandstorms, protect your gear.  Otherwise, get out there and burn it out beholding the Heavens.


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#9 Epox75

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Posted 29 June 2020 - 08:06 AM

I lived in Rome for many years, almost once every year there was dust coming from Africa. Everything was covered in red.... and the closet part of Africa is 1000 km away smile.gif


Edited by Epox75, 29 June 2020 - 08:06 AM.


#10 Alrakis

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Posted 29 June 2020 - 10:19 AM

Why not use baader turbofilm? 

 

Chris 


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#11 snommisbor

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Posted 29 June 2020 - 12:20 PM

Yes, it will, as noted by others!

 

 But, you also said--- "And, COVID-19 hasn't seemed to affect it so far."     ????

 

Why would you think a Virus would affect it??

I think he was just joking with that statement.



#12 Chuck2

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Posted 29 June 2020 - 02:35 PM

The Saharan dust storm is staying south for now, making an initial minor impact to southern states between Florida and Texas. Cuba and Mexico were impacted more...

 

http://tropic.ssec.w...oes16split.html


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#13 rob.0919

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Posted 29 June 2020 - 05:53 PM

I remember getting a first hand taste of a Saharan dust storm in 2018 in Boa Vista, Cape Verde islands. It seemed most of the dust was high up in the atmosphere.

The moon was nearly full and close to the zenith, and it looked a bit like a fully immersed Lunar eclipse even though of course there was no eclipse.

 

Not many stars were visible either.

 

If its heading your way you'll want to keep your scopes covered up for a few days, just to be safe.


Edited by rob.0919, 29 June 2020 - 05:55 PM.


#14 Reid W

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Posted 29 June 2020 - 06:35 PM

June 26,  we had 1 mile visibility due to the Saharan dust.  It dropped out big time on windshields.

 

In March, 1980 , the ash from St. Helens coated my car in a thick layer.... and that was in Colorado Springs.   

 

 

Difference was the ash grains were sharp and the Saharan grains seem to be more rounded... at least to the touch.



#15 gnowellsct

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Posted 29 June 2020 - 11:44 PM

Saharan dust is a potential problem for optics no doubt about it. 

 

It's also a problem for lungs.  In the air quality biz particulate matter, especially particles under 10 microns or even 5, is a known bad thing.  I don't mean a known bad thing in the sense of after decades it catches up with you.  I mean a known bad thing as in when the concentrations go up there are spikes in cardiac events.  The guy who did the pioneering studies in the 1990s was C. Arden Pope.  He's still around at Brigham Young University.  

 

Some of this particulate stuff can come out of a diesel engine (or for that matter a cigarette) and is a toxic byproduct of our transportation system.  But in places like California where they try to monitor/enforce air quality agricultural dust is known threat to public health.  It's just dust in general, no particular finger pointed at the specific composition of the particles.

 

This Saharan dust just can't be good.   Volcanic stuff like Mt. St. Helens could be catastrophic--for optics, lungs.  

 

I was interested to read of all the dust in AZ.  I have often thought about retiring there but given my pulmonary history it might put me six feet under PDQ.  Ditto all the smoke on the W Coast all the way up into Canada.    I'm probably going to have to stay right here in upstate NY.  At least I'm used to it.   But it's not great for observing.  

 

And even though OP was joking, the connection with COVID19 is that it has known lethal potential and so does the particulate matter.  The PM might be softening you up for the virus, or the virus might soften you up for the PM.  The Saharan dust is not a good thing to be happening at this time.

 

Greg N


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#16 eblanken

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Posted 30 June 2020 - 02:14 AM

If you keep your scope indoors wrapped in Saran Wrap and foam, no harm will ever come to it.

 

And you will never see the Milky Way wonders in a dark African skies.

 

Telescopes are made to be used.   If the wind is hard, or there are sandstorms, protect your gear.  Otherwise, get out there and burn it out beholding the Heavens.

OK, my read on this is to "KEEP THE GOOD SCOPES SEALED INSIDE" plastic. BUT, I have TOO MANY SCOPES FOR A REASON: I can still use the lesser scopes as Spikey131 directs. Good advice !!!

 

Life is a balancing act, Live vs Protect:find a way to do both !!!

 

Peace,

 

Ed (aka eblanken) FROM THE PACIFIC NORTH-WEST, FAR AWAY FROM THE AFRICAN DUST (BUT WHERE WE HAVE TREE POLLEN ABUNDANTLY) !!!



#17 beanerds

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Posted 30 June 2020 - 04:14 AM

Yes, it will, as noted by others!

 

 But, you also said--- "And, COVID-19 hasn't seemed to affect it so far."     ????

 

Why would you think a Virus would affect it??

Tongue in cheek old mate .lol.gif  .

 

Beanerds.


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#18 Chuck2

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Posted 30 June 2020 - 03:26 PM

Saharan dust may not reach most of the US, but we also contend with abundant tree pollen and Maple tree sap fallout.  When the sunlight is just right, you can see the 'rain' of pollen and sap failing from our trees. Our cars are covered every morning. I learned 40 years ago to always use a dew shield, even during daylight solar observing.


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#19 daquad

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Posted 30 June 2020 - 06:45 PM

Yeah, pollen here in New England with abundant oaks and maple forests, the pollen coats my truck with a yellow patina even though it is garaged.  And the surface of the pool looks gritty from the pollen that covers it.  We can't wash our windows until the middle of June.  After that the pollen count seems to dwindle.  

 

So in April, May and most of June I monitor my objectives religiously and clean them carefully if pollen appears to have settled on the lens.

 

Dom  q.




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