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The smell of telescopes

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22 replies to this topic

#1 osbourne one-nil

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Posted 25 October 2021 - 06:16 AM

I've recently got myself a StellaLyra RC6 and (hesitate to say this) I occasionally take the cap off and have a big sniff of the inside of the tube. The smell takes me back to a really rubbish Celestron 6" newt I bought in around 1997 (a Bird Jones scope I think) when I was just married and had my first house and my first child was on the way. I guess it's the black paint applied to the inside of the tube, but whatever it is, I love it. 

 

Am I just weird?


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#2 Binofrac

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Posted 25 October 2021 - 06:40 AM

When I first went to the Herstmonceux observatory I immediately recognised the smell from each of the big telescopes. They had the same `engineering` smell that all old engineering has from steam engines to vintage cars. It's not something I think about much but it gives me a homely familiarity.



#3 LDW47

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Posted 25 October 2021 - 07:28 AM

Some lubricants can smell funny and it doesn't take much


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#4 John Miele

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Posted 25 October 2021 - 07:43 AM

No...not weird! Smells are powerful memory stimulants. It is nice to have associated a particular smell with a happy period in your life...I say keep enjoying!


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#5 kathyastro

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Posted 25 October 2021 - 08:08 AM

Ah, that new telescope smell! :D


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#6 clusterbuster

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Posted 25 October 2021 - 08:09 AM

Sniffing inside my 13.1" ODYSSEY 1 Reflector tube makes my nose happy !

 You are not weird, somebody had to post this..... GOOD JOB !

 Mark


Edited by clusterbuster, 25 October 2021 - 08:09 AM.

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#7 MikeTahtib

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Posted 25 October 2021 - 08:37 AM

I've noticed a telescope smell too!! I thought it was just me.  I'm not sure what it is, I thought it might be the rubber parts of the eyepiece cup and rubber coating appleid to eyepieces.  I don't really know where it comes from, but I do like the smell.


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#8 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 25 October 2021 - 09:03 AM

For me, the only scopes that have a specific smell are Newtonians with phenolic tubes. My 12.5 inch Meade Research Grade had those rubber caps that fit tightly over the tube. It was more than 30 years old when we larger ways but the phenolic aroma was strong.

 

I had two RV-6s that were even older and did not have tight caps but the phenolic aroma was unmistakable..

 

Other scopes, they seem odorless.

 

Jon



#9 Cfeastside

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Posted 25 October 2021 - 09:25 AM

Lol love the smell of my first scope parks fiberglass tube!   Takes me back to when i first got it



#10 Alex65

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Posted 25 October 2021 - 10:09 AM

My old AstroScan has a special and, by now, nostalgic smell whenever I remove the dust cap. It has always had that distinctive smell and it hasn't disappeared in all the decades that I've had it.

 

Probably the ejection moulded plastic body, or the glue used to hold the two shells together, slowly releasing some kind of particles into the air.

 

My other two 'scopes, however, do not have a smell to them and both of them have a metal body.



#11 StarBurger

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Posted 25 October 2021 - 12:45 PM

Oh boy do I feel inadequate! I am blind in the olfactory department.

I have no sense of smell whatsoever. This may be due to early experiments as a kid with chemistry sets available in the 50'S, when you could easily buy an array of chemicals that would allow one to mix anything from gunpowder to stink bombs. Can't do that today....

Perhaps I inhaled too much burning sulphur fumes. I think that is the last thing I can ever remember smelling. (no--I didn't inhale. Honestly!) 

As is common with those who are lacking in one of the senses it is often made up for by accentuated other senses.

The sight of a brass OTA, a freshly coated mirror, a wooden tripod or a collection of eyepieces has me salivating and reminiscing.

On the auditory side the sound of a gently humming RA drive or clicking of a camera shutter is music to my ears.

The touch of a smooth focuser or hefting a WA EP is almost sensual.

 

But as for smelling, forget it. At least it makes me skunk proof. Which is just as well as my most common nocturnal visitors are skunks. May be why I love them around....


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#12 Terra Nova

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Posted 25 October 2021 - 02:52 PM

I loved the smell of the lauan mahogany plywood the Japanese telescope cases were made of back in the day.


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#13 alphatripleplus

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Posted 25 October 2021 - 02:55 PM

I still have some sense of smell, but to he honest, I've never noticed any smell with any of my scopes. I have a new one on the way, so I'll have to give it the sniff test to see if I can pick up anything.



#14 kjkrum

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Posted 26 October 2021 - 12:02 AM

The eye cup on my new Celestron 8-24 smells like a tire... :-/

#15 mikerepp

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Posted 26 October 2021 - 05:23 AM

My AR152 has a slight smell that reminds me of creosote.  None of my other scopes have any odor. 



#16 luxo II

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Posted 26 October 2021 - 05:33 AM

Maybe we could concoct an aftershave for astro blokes - especially if you have a stargazing significant other !

 

Stellar aftershave - a subtle blend of:

 

- 5 parts isopropyl alcohol,

- 5 drops dishwashing liquid,

- 1 part xylene,

- 1 part acetone,

- 1 part paint solvents (a hint of fresh varnish, or painted OTA ?)… 

- 1 part plasticiser (soft plastic parts),

- a dash of WD40.

 

Put this lot in a spray pack and for the propellant, use Pentane, the gas in polystyrene foam… 

 


Edited by luxo II, 26 October 2021 - 06:29 AM.

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#17 MikeTahtib

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Posted 26 October 2021 - 03:20 PM

Maybe we could concoct an aftershave for astro blokes - especially if you have a stargazing significant other !

 

Stellar aftershave - a subtle blend of:

 

- 5 parts isopropyl alcohol,

- 5 drops dishwashing liquid,

- 1 part xylene,

- 1 part acetone,

- 1 part paint solvents (a hint of fresh varnish, or painted OTA ?)… 

- 1 part plasticiser (soft plastic parts),

- a dash of WD40.

 

Put this lot in a spray pack and for the propellant, use Pentane, the gas in polystyrene foam… 

It couldn't be any worse than Axe body spray.


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#18 kathyastro

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Posted 26 October 2021 - 05:22 PM

LOL!  There's a reason so many places are scent-free these days.


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#19 Battlestamps

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Posted 26 October 2021 - 06:25 PM

So is anyone going to shoot a message over to Yankee Candle for a new scent idea? 


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#20 Spikey131

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Posted 26 October 2021 - 09:04 PM

Mine smells like smoke when I forget to take the plastic cap off of the Quark solar filterfrown.gif


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#21 Pat Rochford

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Posted 27 October 2021 - 01:07 PM

Okay, so I'm finding all this kinda' weird.  My suggestion is that anything said on this thread ... stays on this thread.  The rest of the world already thinks we're a little peculiar as it is.

 

And to those of you who are currently 'tasting' your optical tubes, I suggest therapy. Like soon.

 

 

 

 

 

If anybody wants to discuss these fetishes with me later, I'll be out in the backyard tickling my Rumak.  


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#22 GUS.K

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Posted 27 October 2021 - 02:13 PM

I notice it with binoculars as well, more the pebbled  leatherette covered ones than the newer rubber covered versions. 



#23 Noah4x4

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Posted 28 October 2021 - 10:02 AM

Opened my observatory door (converted garage) to a loud 'pop' and a disturbing electrical smell. In the dark, this caused a mighty heart flutter as I envisaged fried motor board or something equally expensive. Fortunately, was only my RCD consumer unit tripping and a blown ceiling light LED and not any astronomy equipment. Life span promised, "20,000 hours", but this Chinese manufactured bulb didn't last 20 hours!  To be fair, they said is was from a known "bad batch" and sent me six new ones as compensation. Glad the bulb holder wasn't wood or paper!

 

Lightbulb.jpg




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