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How to protect your optics - remote observatory

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#1 kzar

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Posted 19 September 2021 - 12:23 AM

Hi folks,

 

I was just wondering how people tend to protect their equipment (mount, scope, etc.) in remote based observatory ? 

 

Does someone would use a protective cover especially during winter, etc. ? 

 

Jut curious to get your feedbacks.

 

Cheers,

A.



#2 macdonjh

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Posted 19 September 2021 - 07:11 AM

By remote do you mean an automated observatory you use from home, or an observatory away from your house you travel to when you want to use it?

 

I have the latter, so I travel to my observatory and am there in person when I use it.  Since I'm there, I have various covers to keep bugs and dust off my glass, and I have a standard TeleGizmos cover to keep my OTA and mount mostly clean.  For scope storage I think the most important thing is to have breathable protection.  While you want to keep dust and bugs off your scope, you don't want to allow moisture to build up under/ inside your covers.  That invites fungus and mold to grow.

 

A few of my friends have remote observatories they operate over the internet.  I haven't asked them what they do, but I assume the have to leave their scopes uncovered.


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#3 kathyastro

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Posted 19 September 2021 - 07:24 AM

My observatory is about 200 feet from my house.  If I am expecting clear skies, I just leave the scope parked in a horizontal position.  If it is going to be a few days before we get a clear night, I will go out and install the aperture dust cover.  If they are forecasting stormy weather, I will put a tarp over the scope and install tie-down turnbuckles on the dome.


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#4 kzar

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Posted 19 September 2021 - 07:55 AM

Thank you both for your answers. 

 

As Kathyastro, I have my observatory close to my house. This latter is like an automated observatory that I control over the Internet - no need to physically go to the observatory.

 

However, I was just wondering how people protect their rigs while having their observatory quite far away from their domicile ? I mean, as far as I am aware of, there is no "automated cover" :) that you can operate remotely in order to protect your scopes during very bad weather (so, you better off to have water-proof installation). So, how people do operate in such situations ? Do they just uncover their equipments regardless of the weather ?


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#5 Raginar

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Posted 20 September 2021 - 09:35 AM

I never used a cover in my ROR.  It was weather proof enough the scope wouldn't get more than some dust on it.  I use a 'flip flat' that works like a dust cover and I could get my flats that way.  

 

I'd recommend getting/building a flip flat cover.  On the 'flip side', a little dust isn't gonna hurt your scope or your pictures.



#6 njrusty

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Posted 20 September 2021 - 11:17 AM

I use a flip cover to keep the dust out and it has the added benefit of creating flats!!  :-)

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#7 kzar

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Posted 20 September 2021 - 12:46 PM

I use a flip cover to keep the dust out and it has the added benefit of creating flats!!  :-)

It seems that we have the same flat device, i.e. alnitak flip flat smile.gif . A bit expensive but does the job without any doubt ! Thanks for sharing.


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#8 kzar

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Posted 20 September 2021 - 12:48 PM

I never used a cover in my ROR.  It was weather proof enough the scope wouldn't get more than some dust on it.  I use a 'flip flat' that works like a dust cover and I could get my flats that way.  

 

I'd recommend getting/building a flip flat cover.  On the 'flip side', a little dust isn't gonna hurt your scope or your pictures.

Good to know ! My ROR is for sure waterproof too - so I think there is no additional benefit to over-protect your equipment except if plan not to use it for a long period of time.

 

Thank you all for your kind inputs.

 

Best regards,

Aygen


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#9 MJB87

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Posted 21 September 2021 - 07:52 AM

It seems that we have the same flat device, i.e. alnitak flip flat smile.gif . A bit expensive but does the job without any doubt ! Thanks for sharing.

I'm very pleased with my Alnitak Flip-Flat cover.  It is really cool watching SGPro go through its routine, taking a bunch of lights and then closing the cover and automatically taking a bunch of flats (with the Flip-Flat illuminated) before returning the telescope to its park position.


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#10 kzar

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Posted 21 September 2021 - 08:35 AM

I'm very pleased with my Alnitak Flip-Flat cover.  It is really cool watching SGPro go through its routine, taking a bunch of lights and then closing the cover and automatically taking a bunch of flats (with the Flip-Flat illuminated) before returning the telescope to its park position.

I can only echo - very easy to use and absolutely working like a breeze along with an automated software like the one you are using. 

 

By the way, do you know if there something similar (flip-flat) but for bigger aperture ? I would love to have the same equipment for my Meade 14". Thanks for your feedback.



#11 Mark Bailey

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Posted 21 September 2021 - 02:53 PM

I have not been doing anything to provide protection that the locked observatory doesn't provide. My main concern here in arid southern Utah is dust and it is a problem. I cover the PC but I figured if I covered the scope I couldn't run it remotely, which I do from 200 miles away in Salt Lake (when everything is working, which is rare . . . but one continues to have hope in spite of experience). My next protection item has been to ask the county, again, to oil the nearby dirt road where most of the dust comes from.

 

And now I see the Alnitak Flip-Flat cover which I didn't know about. Fabulous. That will be #2 on the protection agenda.

 

Mark


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#12 kzar

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Posted 21 September 2021 - 03:18 PM

I have not been doing anything to provide protection that the locked observatory doesn't provide. My main concern here in arid southern Utah is dust and it is a problem. I cover the PC but I figured if I covered the scope I couldn't run it remotely, which I do from 200 miles away in Salt Lake (when everything is working, which is rare . . . but one continues to have hope in spite of experience). My next protection item has been to ask the county, again, to oil the nearby dirt road where most of the dust comes from.

 

And now I see the Alnitak Flip-Flat cover which I didn't know about. Fabulous. That will be #2 on the protection agenda.

 

Mark

Have patience and keep going.... once everything is up and running you will enjoy it (I keep telling this to myself because I am still not 100% okay with my setup). 

 

As for the Alnitak Flip-Flat, this is definitely an excellent product. I can only recommend it.

 

Best regards from Switzerland.

Aygen


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#13 MJB87

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Posted 21 September 2021 - 04:04 PM

So I think we just boosted orders for Flip-Flat!  However, a bit of caution. It took several months for my order, sent in about 8 months ago, to be completed. There were -- and may be -- shortages of some of the integrated circuits used in the processor. You may want to get your order in soon and then exercise some patience.


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#14 Raginar

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Posted 22 September 2021 - 09:10 AM

Good to know ! My ROR is for sure waterproof too - so I think there is no additional benefit to over-protect your equipment except if plan not to use it for a long period of time.

 

Thank you all for your kind inputs.

 

Best regards,

Aygen

We did get a blizzard once that dumped about 4' of snow; I did put a Telegizmo cover on my scope that time.

 

;)



#15 RalphMeisterTigerMan

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Posted 22 September 2021 - 09:19 AM

Protection from the Elements is one thing (Wind, Rain, Snow, etc). But what about the unpredictable nature of the nasty members of the human race. Vandalism is always a danger.

 

I have heard of some ROR owners that are quite a drive from their observatories. Some have solved that problem by planting various types of shrubbery and other plants to disguise their observatory in the attempt to not call attention to it.

 

High chain-link fences with razor wire may be a little extreme but the danger of some person(s) wanting to vandalize just for a thrill or to break inside to see if something valueable could be taken for an easy sell?

 

I don't know why but that seen from the extended version of the movie "Aliens" keeps popping into my head where the Sulaco survivors set up two sets of the Sentry Guns in the tunnel where the Xenomorphs were making their entry into the "Hadley's Hope" installation. Obviously this is not feasible because 1. It would be highly illegal as the legal systems frowns upon homicide 2. Those sentry guns do not exist yet 3. I would have to say this option is excessive to say the least not to mention "over-kill". But I must confess that it does have a weird, morbid fascination to it, if you happen to be a psychopath.

 

I believe that using various plants and shrubs would be a much safer, less sadistic and much more quieter option as I do NOT condone weapons of mass destruction. I very much value human life!

 

So tell me how you would protect your costly optical investment from "predators of the bi-pedal kind"?

 

Perhaps some sort of "stealth option" may be developed in the near future?

 

Clear skies and keep looking up!

RalphMeisterTigerMan


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#16 archer1960

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Posted 22 September 2021 - 11:29 AM

Plants that like to "bite" people, like Holly, Yucca, some Palms and in desert areas, cacti, could probably be put to good use.



#17 kzar

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Posted 22 September 2021 - 01:23 PM

I really liked the comparison with the Xenomorphs lol.gif. You made my day Ralph.

 

.


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#18 kathyastro

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Posted 22 September 2021 - 02:47 PM

Practically, you cannot keep out homo sapiens.  The best protection is insurance plus a record of all equipment, with photos and serial numbers.

 

Of course, it doesn't hurt to slow 'em down a bit.  I have:

- a motion-sensitive porch light, turned off during imaging so raccoons don't trigger it, but on at all other times;

- a very solid home-made door;

- a deadbolt

- an alarm system.  Unfortunately, I need to have a 30-second delay so I don't deafen myself when I go out to do maintenance, but the bad guy will hear it chirping for those 30 seconds and maybe think twice about doing anything;

- interior lights that come on when the alarm sounds, imaging be ****;

- webcams that see the lights as "motion" and start recording.


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#19 Omeganon

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Posted 22 September 2021 - 09:51 PM

So I think we just boosted orders for Flip-Flat!  However, a bit of caution. It took several months for my order, sent in about 8 months ago, to be completed. There were -- and may be -- shortages of some of the integrated circuits used in the processor. You may want to get your order in soon and then exercise some patience.

Adding to the chorus. I’ve had my flip-flat for about a month now and I love it. With NINA it’s trivial to automate flats so much so that I take them for every target so everything is saved together. 



#20 syxbach

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Posted 23 September 2021 - 09:52 AM

Our observatory is run remotely and unattended. We first keep our building design simple. Concrete slab and no window, which minimize the chance for small animals to entering the observatory.  I also added sealing materials between the concrete slab and wood to prevent the insects into the building. All the refractors in our observatories have motorized flat panel cover. However, we cannot eliminate the bugs, because the dim light around the equipment at night will attract them.  Last week, we found one moth inside one's dew shield and produced some eggs, which surprised us a lot. 

 

For me, I go there every month, do regular clean, spread weed killers, and use pesticide to keep bugs away. I think these basic maintenance will help.  

 

Yuexiao


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