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My dad's ill and I'm having to live with him. Not great, but these things happen and he did a lot of things for me many years back...things I certainly won't entertain doing for him. Anyway, it looks like I've got many months of living at his lovely place on the edge of the Cumbrian Pennines with a large garden with no street lights, virtual 360º clear view and Bortle scale 3 skies.

I want to make the most of being here. It's so remote that I've no qualms at all about leaving something set up permanently under a Telegizmo cover but would any of the current mass-produced Dobs stand up to being outside for long periods of time, albeit under cover? I'm not worried about the mirrors, but more the particle-board bases. I could get an Orion Optics base of course, or I could perhaps mount an 8" or even 10" scope on my Skytee mount and leave that out there. Another option would be a 2nd hand scope so there was less invested in it. 

I want a light bucket that I can just uncover and use at a moment's notice because, for once, I don't have to think about lugging something outside when it's clear. It's been great going out with my Vixen 4" scope, but.....

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Definitely a good idea to have a scope permanently set up if you can. it really changes the way you observe and I personally find it about doubles my observing time! I do share your concern about the particle board and dampness! Though many big dobs are housed in garages which probably offer no better protection than a good cover would. I'd pay special attention to the base it's on. If that's a piece of damp concrete water will most likely work its way up into the particle board but if that's waterproof and the cover hangs over the sides so rain runs away from the base, it'll probably be OK.

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You’ll have some lovely views. 

My 10” SW base did swell when it got damp. But, I’d risk it raised off the ground by couple of inches. The important thing will be to allow the air to circulate and don’t store it with the tube in the upright position.

As mentioned, the metal OOUK are all metal, so are fine.

Paul

Edited by Paul73
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I live under bortle 3 skies, too, with bortle 2 a short hop up the road. 

It's great you have planned in some you-time whilst caring for your father and hope you get plenty of clear skies. :)

I get on very well with a 12 inch solid tube - it acts like a 16 inch in Bortle 4 skies - maybe better as the skies seem more  transparent here. I can set up in five mins including collimation. Is there a dry shed in the garden where you can store the scope?

Anything larger takes longer to set up, longer to collimate and is heavy.

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Kudos to you for looking after your dad, it usually takes adulthood before we realise just how much our parents did for us. Seems like your situation has something of a "silver lining" to it, good luck to both of you for the future. As already said, attention to what is under the telescope base is the more important consideration.  :icon_biggrin:

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Thanks all - here he is a few weeks ago having been dug out of his house. His house is subjected to something called the Helm Wind which has to be experienced to be believed! In fact the wind is probably as much of a consideration as the rain here. 

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I just want to be able to make the most of the opportunity I have while I live here. Ideally I'd like a 12" scope solid tube too, as 14" would put the eyepiece frustratingly high for someone just a smidge under 5ft 8" and it seems to me there's more structural stability to hold collimation. Great idea about raising it up too - I could do something with some oak sleepers lying about. I don't think I'll bother with any tracking - I've got my Vixen for that and I just fancy some star hopping with a beer and some insect repellent. 

 

 

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3 hours ago, Beulah said:

Is there a dry shed in the garden where you can store the scope?

+1 for that. With a bigger dob, you have to deal with thermal inertia due to the large mass of glass (mirror seeing/distorted views - or dewing up with rising daytime temperatures). An unheated room or garage with good ventilation would be a better solution IMO; a trolley or attached wheelbarrow handles, and you can take out the scope within a few minutes and start observing immediately. My 5 dobs (4.5" up to 18"; 3 plywood, 2 particle board mounts; the 13.1" 's tube made of Sonotube cardboard!) are living in a room within an old barn, and don't show any signs of deterioration due to moisture after 8 years.

Best Wishes for you and your dad. I was in a similar situation a few years ago; and looking up at the stars was always a recreation and consolation for me.

Congrats to your observing site:

https://www.lightpollutionmap.info/#zoom=10&lat=7278457&lon=-274289&layers=B0TFFFFFTF

Stephan

 

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I missed that - yes, there is a dry shed where I could store everything but I am very, very lazy. I could compromise though and take it in when wet weather is forecast - that's fine. What I find tiresome is only setting up when it's definitely going to be clear...I'd like to have the stuff out if there's a chance there will be some clear spells. 

40 minutes ago, Nyctimene said:

That's one of the maps I was looking at. The village is called Murton and the radiance value is 0.36...whatever that means. 

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4 minutes ago, Beulah said:

You lucky, lucky man! :)

Yes, indeed; a very supporting wife, a lot of space, rural skies, and 32 years time to accumulate (I just cannot part with any of my scopes; each one tells so many stories;  e.g. the 8"f/4 Hofheim traveldob was signed by John L. Dobson himself during his visit to Germany 2006...   ..and so on  ;-) )

Stephan

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23 minutes ago, osbourne one-nil said:

I missed that - yes, there is a dry shed where I could store everything but I am very, very lazy. I could compromise though and take it in when wet weather is forecast - that's fine. What I find tiresome is only setting up when it's definitely going to be clear...I'd like to have the stuff out if there's a chance there will be some clear spells. 

That's one of the maps I was looking at. The village is called Murton and the radiance value is 0.36...whatever that means. 

Pretty good! Although the place I used to live at seems to have had less radiance. No way is that true!! I think Mk1 eyeballs never lie...

 

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3 hours ago, osbourne one-nil said:

the radiance value is 0.36...whatever that means. 

Have a look at the "Overlay legend" in lightpollutionmaps toggle menu. Your location's radiance value (the amount of ground based energy/light radiation, as measured by the satellite; lower values are better) of 0.36 means, that you are observing from a "dark blue" coded area - just second to the best (black). I'm glad with my "dark green" site.

Taking out the 18" dob with already attached wheelbarrow handles, and rolling it down a small ramp to it's place, takes exactly three minutes (and I'm 1,70 m with a weight of 61 kgs "soaking wet in my clothes", (to quote Kriege/Berry)). So laziness is a somewhat slim excuse I cannot accept thoroughly....;-)

Stephan

Edited by Nyctimene
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You underestimate my ability to be lazy! I think the best solution for me is a good old-fashioned compromise of something I can keep out during spells of ok weather but roll back into the shed when the weather is foul. There was a 12" Revelation Dob on ABS, but it's been sold. I'm quite interested in those as I think they're re-badged Zumell dobs which get good reviews from the States, but I shall keep looking. 

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I've been thinking on about this and what I plan to do is sell my Vixen refractor and 6" Newtonian to fund the purchase of the new scope. I'm only doing this because if I've got a huge scope set-up and ready to go, why bother retaining smaller scopes? I'll keep hold of my Skywatcher 90mm refractor for any times I want something in the boot. That means I might even go for the 16" Skywatcher, although I'm a bit worried about losing the wide fields of view I enjoy due to the added focal length. I still don't think I'll bother with the Synscan ones as the electrics might not like my planned storage options and I'd probably spend all night getting it aligned anyway. 

This is where it's going to live; in between the trees for a tiny bit of shelter. I've always fancied observing from a clearing in a pine forest....it'll have to do. 

20180329_145555.thumb.jpg.f09cd6fc0d3a7f0aad60d947003e4741.jpg

 

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