Author Topic: Leave Scope Outside for the Night or Bring it In?  (Read 467 times)

Gabriel Green

  • Active Astronomer
  • ***
  • Posts: 107
  • Activity:
    0%
  • Reputation: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Leave Scope Outside for the Night or Bring it In?
« on: December 24, 2017, 02:48:42 PM »
Last night, although it was still light outside, there was not a cloud in the sky.  I wanted to see M31 and other objects towards the northeast and north which are not visible from my driveway, so I rolled the scope (I have added 10" pneumatic wheels and wheelbarrow handles to my 12 1/2" because my icon pic was shot) to the garden where I'd have a crystal clear view.  Since I really don't have a ramp to get the wheels across the checking bordering my driveway, I couldn't move the 100' directly to the backyard, and so I rolled the scope about 240 additional feet up the front walkway, in which there is a break in the curbing, and around the house in the other direction to the rear.  (I should add, it's a bumpier excursion going in that direction but collimation appeared to hold.)  I set up everything and then went indoors to see the Olympics on TV.  At 11, I went out and wouldn't you know it, strong clouds had gathered!  Naturally, I had been completely PO'ed but not wanting to leave the scope out for the night, and try again tonight if it's supposedly going to become clear, I reversed the procedure but I was wondering, do you people ever leave your stuff out in your yard, supposing the weather for the next 24 hours or so will be good, or would you bring it all in after every observing session?The issues I'm wondering about are the ramifications of overnight dew or whatever on the optics, painted cardboard tube, wood foundation and mount; and anything else I'm not considering.  In addition, I have a plastic lid that seals the top of the cardboard tube, a lace bag for your diagonal along with a giant plastic garbage bag covering the whole assembly too.  (A Telegizmos cover is in the plans for the long term, I believe.)

And no, I'm not in an urban jungle; this really is a wonderful safe suburban bedroom community along with also the scope in the backyard isn't even visible from the street.  (And moreover, 95% of the people who have seen it have no clue what it is.)

What do you do?



Lance Soto

  • Active Astronomer
  • ***
  • Posts: 123
  • Activity:
    0%
  • Reputation: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Leave Scope Outside for the Night or Bring it In?
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2017, 03:27:48 AM »
In the past, I left mine out once in a while to see planets visible just before dawn. Like you, I live where it's secluded so there were no worries about monkey business.

I have to say that once your scope has cooled completely overnight, it's possible to have superb views. My best-even view of Saturn through a 4mm Radian was probably just before the sky started to lighten. Sharp as a photo. That experience is etched in my memory.

The scope can become completely wet with dew on the outside. I used shower caps on the front and back to keep out spiders and other small crawlies while I slept. Like you, I worried a bit about the scope materials that are sensitive to moisture. Since then, I've painted the outside of my tube with many coats of paint, sealed around the bottom periphery of my circular ground board's edge banding, and looked for possible routes of entry for moisture. Any exposed bits of particleboard were painted.

So far, so good.

trapoutampub

  • Active Astronomer
  • ***
  • Posts: 129
  • Activity:
    0%
  • Reputation: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Leave Scope Outside for the Night or Bring it In?
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2017, 08:34:58 PM »
I live in a similar situation where I have no concern about vandals, thieves, etc... and I have left mine out for days at a time. I have a plastic insert to cap off the tube but I cover my complete setup with a tarp. While I have had the setup get completely SOAKED during viewing from dew, if I'm not actively using it I don't see the point in unnecessarily exposing it to the elements. A nice clean tarp from Home Depot or the like is cheap and keeps things dry. Since yours is on wheels covering it like you did with the plastic bag would even protect it from the unexpected summer shower and the wheels would keep it up off the ground. I've even done this with my APO and EQ mount overnight.

I don't doubt that some people will say it is a bad idea but for my equipment it's has been fine and I stress, I don't leave it out like this for weeks. But, I have done it from time to time for 2 - 3 days at a time.

aftilicomp

  • Active Astronomer
  • ***
  • Posts: 113
  • Activity:
    0%
  • Reputation: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Leave Scope Outside for the Night or Bring it In?
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2018, 04:12:14 AM »
Hi.... I live in Fairbanks, Alaska where it is cold, but dry. I will leave tripods, mounts and OTA out for several days if it is clear. But, I cover them with several polar fleece blankets and a Goretex cover over that. Plus, I roll a deck sized umbrella over them all. They stay cold, minimizes thermal shocks, and spin up easily. Some wooden tripods in the mix, but I have refinished and oiled those.
Works very well. Standard OTA caps for all.

ulatimhan

  • Active Astronomer
  • ***
  • Posts: 123
  • Activity:
    0%
  • Reputation: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Leave Scope Outside for the Night or Bring it In?
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2018, 10:57:12 PM »
I would routinely leave my 18-inch Litebox Dob outside in my village backyard for up to two weeks at a time, spring, summer and fall, with the scope always covered with a Telegizmos cover when not in use. Unfortunately, during these stretches there would be several days with brisk winds, which will take its toll on the cover. Basically, it might go a year before it starts shredding. I’ve gone through three covers in the last six years, so now its time for a more durable solution.

In your circumstance, I think your Achilles heel is the cardboard tube... if your location is subject to heavy dewing, moisture will eventually take its toll on your tube. Covering the scope would only prolong the inevitable. If you’re just planning to leave the scope out for a night or so every once in a while, you should be okay.

Ronald Saldana

  • Active Astronomer
  • ***
  • Posts: 116
  • Activity:
    0%
  • Reputation: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Leave Scope Outside for the Night or Bring it In?
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2018, 06:03:39 AM »
I believe the risks outweigh the rewards. It's your scope but I wouldn't do it.

anficonco

  • Active Astronomer
  • ***
  • Posts: 135
  • Activity:
    0%
  • Reputation: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Leave Scope Outside for the Night or Bring it In?
« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2018, 04:10:46 AM »
My worry, absent thieves or vandals, would be roving critters, wild and/or domestic, that might take a fancy to explore the equipment. There is a wandering cat who loves my back yard (no dog) and a raccoon who stops by some evenings, plus birds, possums, spiders, etc. There is just no way to completely seal off all access to a telescope and mount.

vicareeti

  • Active Astronomer
  • ***
  • Posts: 122
  • Activity:
    0%
  • Reputation: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Leave Scope Outside for the Night or Bring it In?
« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2018, 04:56:05 AM »
If you go to a major star party you will see scopes of every design and price range left out for days at a time- with proper covers, of course. I often set up a scope on the back patio, use it in the evening, and leave it in place until early morning. I have gotten stunning planetary views this way, partly because the scope is at perfect equilibrium. Usually I bring it in that morning, but occasionally I will cover it and leave it out for several days running. Rightly or wrongly, I consider that the rewards outweigh the risks.

Currently none of my scopes have wooden parts, but I have done this with standard dobs in the past.

OTOH, years ago I left my C8 unattended for just a few moments at the TX Star Party. A sudden gust of high wind from a clear sky turned over the entire GEM, cracking the corrector plate. I might have saved it had I been less than 10' away, but even a short walk to the car would have had the same results. The next day I noticed that TSP vets secured their tripods with tent stakes and bungies.

Nothing in life is risk free!

Gordon G

tecretalhei

  • Active Astronomer
  • ***
  • Posts: 123
  • Activity:
    0%
  • Reputation: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Leave Scope Outside for the Night or Bring it In?
« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2018, 04:13:46 PM »
Just a couple of thoughts...

Make sure the front cover is very hard for wind to blow it off, otherwise you may be surprised:
  ==>http://www.skyandtel...odingtelescope/

Make sure the tube will stay level in wind and can freely pivot around in azimuth, otherwise a strong gust of wind, especially when the tube is vertical, may tip it over.

Bilal Luck

  • Active Astronomer
  • ***
  • Posts: 122
  • Activity:
    0%
  • Reputation: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Leave Scope Outside for the Night or Bring it In?
« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2018, 11:49:10 PM »
I have left my LB 16 out overnight with a cover from ScopeStuff.com with no problems. If the weather forecast calls for a good chance of multiple nights of clear weather, I leave it out. Once I had 3 nights in a row. I might not had taken advantage of that 3-night-in-a-row run if I had had to set it up and break it down each night. Note: in the morning I lift the cover a just enough to let air in to dry away any dew. On the downside, I left it out once and an un-forecast thunderstorm blew through. I threw an extra tarp over it and bungee'd everything down and it was fine. However, the particle-board base is getting a little puffed out in places, but it is not affecting the azimuth motion... yet. I am planning on replacing it with a base from DobStuff.com sometime soon regardless. I've never left it out for more than a few nights. Usually, I break it down and take everything inside if they call for clouds or rain or the moon starts to get too annoying, which has never been for more than just a few nights.

maogrinjorli

  • Active Astronomer
  • ***
  • Posts: 114
  • Activity:
    0%
  • Reputation: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Leave Scope Outside for the Night or Bring it In?
« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2018, 06:12:23 AM »
Leave my big dob outside at star parties for days at a time, rain or shine.

I use an astrosystems cover when not in use and make sure I tie it down so heavy winds don't pull it out of the rocker box (has happened).

Have to clean the mirror every other year or so mostly because of dust settling on the mirror. Occasionally tree sap...

bronedproudem

  • Active Astronomer
  • ***
  • Posts: 138
  • Activity:
    0%
  • Reputation: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Leave Scope Outside for the Night or Bring it In?
« Reply #11 on: January 23, 2018, 05:44:47 AM »
I've left my Obsession 20 out for days at a time. So much in fact that the GoogleEarth view of my house shows it on the front lawn. Dew (frost)? It's going to happen anyway! The scope's been thru thunderstorms and snowstorms many times and still is just fine.

I also routinely leave my ES127ED and Celestron CG-5 mount out for days at a time..... under a good cover of course.

Taking scopes down during the daytime, after a good night's sleep, is much better than struggling with them in the dark or at dawn after 4 or 5 hours of observing.

plicoptorol

  • Active Astronomer
  • ***
  • Posts: 104
  • Activity:
    0%
  • Reputation: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Leave Scope Outside for the Night or Bring it In?
« Reply #12 on: January 23, 2018, 07:26:19 AM »
i have left mine out weeks at a time with a waterproof covering.....no problems....

Dan Square

  • Active Astronomer
  • ***
  • Posts: 131
  • Activity:
    0%
  • Reputation: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Leave Scope Outside for the Night or Bring it In?
« Reply #13 on: January 25, 2018, 05:44:49 PM »
Those raccoons are numerous here,and curious and destructive.i didn't find the Z10 end cap for months.Coons carry objects that interest them surprising distances.And they leave dirty footmarks all over the scope.And scratch the finish.

ceisilipan

  • Active Astronomer
  • ***
  • Posts: 129
  • Activity:
    0%
  • Reputation: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Leave Scope Outside for the Night or Bring it In?
« Reply #14 on: January 25, 2018, 11:14:43 PM »
I leave my 8 inch telescope out all the time. Arizona doesn't get much rain. I did have a problem  last night with my 12 inch as the tube is metal and it is now too hot to touch. I'll have to put it away after it cools off unless I can find some gardening gloves.