Jump to content

Stargazers Lounge Uses Cookies

Like most websites, SGL uses cookies in order to deliver a secure, personalised service, to provide social media functions and to analyse our traffic. Continued use of SGL indicates your acceptance of our cookie policy.

sgl_imaging_challenge_banner_lunar_landings.thumb.jpg.b50378d0845690d8a03305a49923eb40.jpg

Lebster31

Transporting Telescopes In Winter

Recommended Posts

Hi, I recently got a Meade ETX 90, and I was wondering if I can take it places during Winter. I keep my telescope in a sheltered, but un insulated garage so I can keep it acclimated to the ambient temperature outside. I just got a case for it as well but wondering whether it's safe to put in the case and take it places during winter. I am well aware that it is dangerous to take a cold telescope into the warmth. Keep in mind, my destination is about 2 hours from my house. If its not safe in Winter, are there any ways I can gradually warm it up to take it places? Any answers will be greatly appreciated, thank you!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Lebster and welcome to SGL, as far as I am aware you can transport your scope, in its case, to an observation site, complete your setup then allow your scope to acclimatise before using. Your ETX90, is, on the whole, a compact unit, I don`t understand why you would want to warm it up before transportation, kept in its case, from the garage to the boot of your car, the scope should not come to any harm. I should certainly not take a telescope, that has been used on cold frosty nights, into a centrally heated environment, unless you have a cold unheated room to store it in. Best stored in an outhouse or garage over night, and if cased leave the lid open so any condensation can evaporate, enjoy the forum :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi, welcome to SGL :)

Scopes are best kept at outside temperatures. A difference between the temperature inside the tube and outside can create thermal currents which spoil the viewing. You can transport the scope anywhere. Just make sure it's secure against any bumps and you'll be fine.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My ETX90 is my travel 'scope.

Can't say I've ever had any issues.

As the other two have said, as long as you give it time to reach the ambient temperature, it should be fine.

The only thing that's likely to suffer if you don't is the view!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My scope, the Meade LX-90 EMC is the bigger brother to the ETX-90, and erm, er, I don't have a case for it.  I've also done the observing on a cold frosty night, then bought it into the house and left it in the living room.  I take my scope on holiday with me, namely observing weekends, and I never bother to wait for it to acclimatise before observing - it wastes observing time ;-).

With all that said.  I've never had and problems with the optics of the scope, it's perfectly safe to take it out and about.  But there are some rules to obey which will see everything fine.

Protect the scope from knocks. - your case will do most of this, but it's still worth remembering that the scope is delecate and has glass, so don't go throwing it around.

Don't the lens cap on before taking from cold to warm environment - also leave the eyepiece hole open - but protected from dust.   having the lens cap on, should mean that any moisture will form on the lens cap rather than the lens.  Having the eyepiece hole open will allow air to enter the scope, and circulate letting the scope warm up.  Protect it from dust, by having the scope pointing up, that way dust won't fall into the hole.

As for waiting for the scope to acclimatise, you'll just have to remember that at the beginning of a session, it's going to have optical glitches.  The scope's view will get better as it settles.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Telescope optics are designed for extremes of temperature. The only thing you need to worry about is the transporting of those optics. Pack them well and there is no worries. Obviously you need to protect against them icing over etc in extreme cold.............easily done with heated dew shields etc...............they will not come to any harm in extreme temps.

Ice etc n the actual scope tube is no worry. Its only if ice forms on the lens/mirrors and thats not a worry either but it will hamper your views. So make sure they are always a couple of degrees above freezing point by either using a heated dew strap or dew shield..............or both.

Edited by LukeSkywatcher
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If the scope is cold you want to keep it cold. Putting it in a warm vehicle can cause frosting, fogging- it does for me anyway. An insulated case will help as well as wrapping it in a blanket for the ride.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I should certainly not take a telescope, that has been used on cold frosty nights, into a centrally heated environment

Uh-oh. I tend to do this. Is it likely to cause damage?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you take a scope out of the freezer and stand it next to a fire you might crack a lens or mirror with the sudden change in extreme temperature. But moving it from outside into the house isn't going to harm it - not in UK weather at least - if you live in Finland it might be a different matter lol.

What does happen though is condensation, misting of lenses/mirrors, puddles in the tube, water marks, and subsequent mould and coating rot where water persists. Same goes for eyepieces too. You really just need a few common sense tactics to avoid all these. Keep the scope well aired when drying it out, stand in the conservatory or garage/utility room for a few hours first, leave all the caps off till thoroughly dried out, avoid water dripping onto electrics, etc.

Once it's dry - cap it up and put it in your normal storage place indoors. Going the other way you can take it straight outside and use it immediately. But it won't be working at it's best till it's cooled down and tube air currents stabilise. The time it takes depends on if it's an open or closed tube and how thick the lenses are. Hth :)

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All of the above is true. My advice is if you are going to transport it to a different place such as a star camp, is to buy a water resistant case. The reason for this is that if you place the scope in the case and shut it, it can be safely left to warm up to an in house temperature over a long period. The warm up is so gradual that you will not get any dew/condensation formation on the scope.  But why would you want to warm the scope? The other plus side to a good watertight case, is that if properly foam protected, when left for only a few hours during the transport it will not have warmed significantly before you get it out again at the viewing site. Thus cool down time is minimised.

Try looking on the CPC website at their cases. There are cheap to expensive cases available that are very strong and water resistant/sealed. Other than that have a look at EBAY for second hand Peli cases. They are not cheap but you can get some real bargins. Usually there are lots of different sizes available. Just be sure that your scope will fit into the case before ordering/buying. You will need to allow extra depth for the foam protection. Do not use pick and pluck foam it is too soft and will not withstand a drop of more than a few inches with a relatively heavy scope in the case. You will need a firmer foam. I tend to reuse the original  transport box foam when ever I can. I just cut it to fit and glue into a case with carpet tape bought from Screwfix. Normal glues do not stick to the white types of foam very well.

Derek

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi, I recently got a Meade ETX 90, and I was wondering if I can take it places during Winter. I keep my telescope in a sheltered, but un insulated garage so I can keep it acclimated to the ambient temperature outside. I just got a case for it as well but wondering whether it's safe to put in the case and take it places during winter. I am well aware that it is dangerous to take a cold telescope into the warmth. Keep in mind, my destination is about 2 hours from my house. If its not safe in Winter, are there any ways I can gradually warm it up to take it places? Any answers will be greatly appreciated, thank you!

You could consider transporting it in an empty ice chest. That's what I've done on occasion when I needed to bring a cold scope into a warm house. The insulating qualities of the chest allow it to acclimate slowly.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bubble wrap is your friend...

...insulates from temperature variations and bouncing around.

Good stargazing  :)

Paul

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bubble wrap is very good at protection. Best if you can reuse old wrap from parcels as it is very cheap that way. Trouble is it tends to burst over time and is rather expensive to buy if you have to do that. I know several places that sell it in big rolls and their prices are ridiculous COSTCO being one. I suppose that is because industry use it intensively and there is a market for ripping people off there. I keep all I can get for sending Christmas presents where necessary.

As an aside to this .......

 I know of several people who transport their scopes in blankets and just put a seat belt around them !!!!!

I would not want to chance my prize possession in that way. Any real impact in an accident could have catastrophic consequences, not only for the scope but for anybody in the car.

Seat belts were and are designed purely to save  human beings not items of any kind, they do not hold them securely enough.

 Still it is your life or maybe more importantly, your wife's or children's lives!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good advice Physopto I always strap anything placed in the seat with extra webbing straps to anchor points in the car - especially large and heavy ota's, mounts, accessory boxes etc. Most stuff goes in the boot where possible. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, I really like my head where it's at now   :angel10:

A long time ago I met a chap who could not speak properly, turns out he had a glass ashtray he had "borrowed" on his cars rear parcel shelf. Well at least until the accident. He showed me the missing portion at the back of his head.

Still he was alive!

Derek

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The ETX-90 is a great little 'scope. I have the ETX-105, 'de-forked' and attached a dovetail to the OTA with two Jubilee clips/rings, (ie threaded hose rings), lined with self-adhesive felt, (I may change it to cork), so I can mount it on either of my mounts.

Anyway, back to storage options. Plenty of good advice given already. Mine is stored in a foam lined case. Goes in the car then on a trolley when transporting to/from site with the other 'scopes etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

BTW... How do intend to power the mount? (assuming you still use the fork mount).

If using AA batteries, whether alkaline or rechargeable, they are not going to like the cold!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've heard two schools of thoughts when bringing a cold scope back into a warm house. I have to do this with a dob, at first I used to leave the caps off and let it warm up quickly, it would fog up and the outside of the OTA would get wet but then it would all clear quite quickly. Then I started putting the caps on when still outside in the cold, bringing it into the warm and leaving the caps on, this way the cold air is trapped in the tube and takes much longer to warm up so It's less severe process.

There's lots of info on acclimatising warm to cold and everyone seems to be in agreement on that, but not so much on cold to warm. Which is the best option, does anyone have any tried and tested knowledge/theory on this?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it is everyone to their own on that. Every one has methods, which are best may well depend upon circumstances and the type of scope. 

Derek

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.