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Alexandros

Observing with a telescope when there is a chance to rain

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Just as the title says, I was wondering if anyone knows whether rain causes any effect or damage to a reflector scope or a mount. Is it worth it to take the scope out to observe between clouds when there is a chance to rain, or should I take the day off?

Alex

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Posted (edited)

There is a reason why this is a chance card in my space Monopoly....

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However, in all seriousness, it is a risk we all run every time we observe on all but the very clearest of nights, such is the speed at which rain clouds can roll in.  A few drops of rain will not do any lasting damage, but certainly don't abandon your scope to the inclement weather.  I personally have a zero tolerance attitude to rain risk.  The moment I feel a drop, I will either move the OTA to safety, or use my weather proof telescope cover to protect the scope and mount if cover is not immediately available (star party for example).  If the mount is too heavy to move second, it will go under the cover.  I also move the scope back to a horizontal position so there is less chance water droplets will make contact with the optics while I grab the cover.

Edited by DirkSteele
typo
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First of all, let me say what a wonderful monopoly you have there! 

I unfortunately skiped on buying a cover for my scope, as I was thinking that, summer is coming, storms are gonna be rare now and clear skies are gonna be the norm! I think I will invest on one though for the future! Any suggestions as to what I should look out when I search for one?

Thanks a lot for your answer!

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A few spots of rain should not hurt (think of it as coarse dew 🙂 ) but is best avoided.  I have rarely been caught out, only once or twice.

If a proper cover is not to hand, the ubiquitous black plastic rubbish bag may serve. 

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Thank you both for your answers. I think I have a pretty good idea in my mind about my course of action! I'll also get a rubbish bag or two and store them near my equipment from now on, until I get a proper cover! 😃

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I keep my bike cover next to the scope, if it looks like a shower is likely I throw it over,

it works and fits perfectly.

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Posted (edited)

Aldi recently had a garden based "middle aisle" promotion that included this garden bag for about £4.

You might find one still available

20190511_195517.thumb.jpg.41a597bd1c8b4a4fa3d7aba560e7c91a.jpg

Edited by Gfamily
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Posted (edited)

I found the best bet for a cheap, but good serviceable scope cover was a chimnea cover, they come in at all sorts of shapes and sizes and in various qualities.  I got a really good one for my set-up - an Oxford brand one I think for about £16.  It probably wouldn't do to leave the scope out in all weathers, but should certainly shrug off light rain.  Don't forget you could also treat covers with the stuff you can buy for re-waterproofing coats and tents if you wanted more protection too.  The good thing about Chimneas is they tend to be wider at the base, as are many scope set-ups

Edited by JOC
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Posted (edited)

Thank you all for the ideas about weather protection, it is good to know that I have options before I make my next investment! I was thinking whether I should purchase a new 2 speed crayford focuser, as I find the rack and pinion one to not be able to find that sweet spot for focus easily. However, I am thinking whether such a move is premature and there are other more important items, such as a motor for the EQ2 mount, or whether I should simply focus on learning my equipment and the night sky better. Do you have any suggetions regarding what could be considered essential? I currently have 2 reversed kellner eyepieces, a 10mm and a 25mm one and a 2x barlow lens, for my 130/900 reflector scope.

Edited by Alexandros
Changed eyepiece type, it turns out I was wrong about them being Plossls.

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7 hours ago, Alexandros said:

Thank you all for the ideas about weather protection, it is good to know that I have options before I make my next investment! I was thinking whether I should purchase a new 2 speed crayford focuser, as I find the rack and pinion one to not be able to find that sweet spot for focus easily. However, I am thinking whether such a move is premature and there are other more important items, such as a motor for the EQ2 mount, or whether I should simply focus on learning my equipment and the night sky better. Do you have any suggetions regarding what could be considered essential? I currently have 2 reversed kellner eyepieces, a 10mm and a 25mm one and a 2x barlow lens, for my 130/900 reflector scope.

You might want to start a new thread for that question to make sure plenty of SGL members see it.

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Ahh thanks I will do that soon! I just got back inside after spending about 3 hours outside seeing with my scope and managed to see my first Messier object, M13! It was a bit of a hazy mess because of the bright moon, humidity and the light pollution here but I used some of the techniques in a pinned tutorial in the forum, averted vision and scope tapping and it was much more easier to view! I am super excited right now!

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After a "wild" early-morning session, I left the tube of this Newtonian outside pointed straight-up, at the zenith, then went to bed...

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I dreamt during that time, and of going outside to find the telescope full of water.  In the dream, I must have poured a couple of gallons out.  Upon awaking, I went outside, and it had indeed rained whilst I had slept, but there was, at most, only a tablespoon or two of water within, and with no harm done.  I took the telescope inside, blotted what water I saw, allowed it to dry, then all was "right as rain".

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Ahhh, that's uplifting Alan! (Not the dream part, that sounds like a nightmare to me 😋 )

While I am by no means gonna risk exposing my scope to water, I am very relieved that if I get a bit of water in my scope I can clean it and be good to go!

Thanks a lot! :)

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2 hours ago, Alexandros said:

Ahhh, that's uplifting Alan! (Not the dream part, that sounds like a nightmare to me 😋 )

While I am by no means gonna risk exposing my scope to water, I am very relieved that if I get a bit of water in my scope I can clean it and be good to go!

Thanks a lot! :)

Newtonians can withstand that sort of thing; a refractor however would not fare as well, nor a Maksutov or Schmidt.

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