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Walking on the Moon

How to pack for an observation trip on motorcycle

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Hi everyone.

I have 2 questions 

1. My local astronomy club is planning a observation visit to the kodaikanal radio observatory(tamilnadu state,india). I want to bring my scope along as most of the people are doing. Can i pack my 130mm 1 meter long scope,tents& mount in a 90 liter rucksack? If not can you please suggest other packing options 


2. My only 2 available modes of transportation is my bike(bajaj pulsar 180... i could also get my friends vajaj Avenger) or the nasty indian public transport system (train&bus. Can't afford a long taxi ride) .it is a 300km drive. How should i pack my luggage on my bike


Thanks in advance 


Edited by positron
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Hi Al, harking back to my motorcycling days when I covered quite long annual mileages, I think my advice would unfortunately be - don't.  I remember carrying an acoustic guitar around on my back as strapping it to the rear carrier or rear seat  wasn't really an option. Panniers were not big enough. I was always worried that if I came off it wouldn't be pleasant for me and would definitely be curtains for the guitar. Your scope is taller and would stick up like a mast, Strapped to the bike, I suspect the optics would not like the vibrations. At the very least , if you were lucky, I'd guess it would need re-collimating.  For me the two options, apart from going without a scope, would be to get a much smaller grab 'n' go setup which means spending money, or see if anyone else you know thats going and  has a car, can take it for you.

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Nebula - I think 'hat's off' to you for sheer dedication to observing.  I don't think I can have any idea of what you are going to face road wise on a 300Km drive through India, but I am willing to bet that our traffic jams on our packed motorways will pale into insignificance compared to the road journey and conditions that you will encounter.  However, I have done a pillion ride of nearly 600 miles through the European continent in the past as well as certain amount of motorcycle rally camping, I also own a telescope that collapses to about 1m long tube length so here are some ideas.

Firstly - could you safely post the OTA to the observatory to get it there and back without needing to carry it - I know someone that went cycling through the Spanish mountains and they posted their bicycle there and back again.

Secondly - have you a friend in your club who is going in a car that could take your telescope?

OK, so perhaps you have to get the OTA on the bike.  Could you wrap your tent around it?  When we used to motorcycle camping our tent was around 1m long and placed horizontally on the carrier behind our seats it rode on the back of the motorcycle quite well properly lashed on.  I also see no reason why it wouldn't travel in your rucksack as you propose, but you will need the tripod and it might be a bit top heavy and affect the balance of the bike.  Personally I would be inclined to mount it and the tripod horizontally behind the seat of the bike and transport it like that.  However, whatever solution you come up I think you will have to remember that any fall will not only damage you, but would probably damage the telescope too.

I hope this helps.

Edited by JOC
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