For any item you value, providing adequate maintenance is key. When it comes to your telescope, which you invested hundreds if not thousands of dollars into (purchasing and upgrading), proper storage is an important consideration to address.
This post is intended for those who want to learn the best practices for storing their telescope in order to maintain longevity and optimal usage.
How to store your telescope
Utilizing your telescope to explore the night sky can be a joyful experience. However, no matter how much free time you have, your telescope will spend a large portion of time stored away between skygazing sessions. Ensuring the right conditions for your stored telescope should be a priority when it comes to upkeep and preservation.
To develop a routine for the proper storage of your telescope, consider these 3 simple questions:
- Where will you keep your telescope?
- Will your telescope remain assembled or will you disassemble it?
- How will you store your telescope's accessories?
Best storage conditions for your telescope
There are a multitude of factors to consider before deciding where to keep your telescope when it is not in use. Here are 5 of the most important storage area conditions to think about:
- Humidity - Your telescope will not fare well in an environment with high humidity. Areas that are damp and moist will cause rust and mold to develop on the telescope's lens and metallic parts. If a humid area is unavoidable, make sure to set up a dehumidifier in the room. Preferably, store your telescope in a dry area to alleviate this issue.
- Easy Access - To put it simply, the easier it is to access your telescope, the more you will use it. Oftentimes, people store their telescope in hard to access areas. The difficulty in retrieving and moving the telescope may result in frustration, or worse, dropping the equipment along the way. If possible, avoid the need to climb multiple sets of stairs or rummage around clutter to retrieve your telescope.
- Sunlight Avoidance - Direct sunlight can cause heat to buildup on your telescope which can warp the mirrors and lenses. This will result in ruining the alignment of the optics and hinder their functional ability.
- Smoke/Dust - Exposure to high quantities of smoke (from vehicle exhaust pipe fumes and similar cases) can cause deposits to buildup over time on telescope lenses and even create a film that blurs the scope's views. If the garage becomes the necessary storage place, make sure to keep the dust caps on and consistently wipe down your equipment. Dust is pretty much unavoidable anywhere, however, if you can limit low ventilation areas, such as an attic, you can prevent excessive dust accumulation.
- Room Temperature - For improving storage conditions, keeping the room at ambient temperatures (not too hot and not too cold), will reduce the required time for outdoor acclimation when you are ready to use your telescope. Reaching thermal equilibrium before use helps to avoid distortion and condensation.
This list of conditions should narrow your choice of available storage areas quite a bit. However, don't worry too much if you are unable to accommodate every single condition listed. They are simply guidelines to help you provide your telescope the best environment within your home.
In general, optimal areas for storing your telescope include: bedroom/guest bedroom, living room or other open area rooms.
Sub-optimal, but still acceptable, areas include: a garage or shed. If possible, you should avoid leaving your telescope outside, uncovered and completely exposed to the elements.
The next question you should think about is whether to leave your telescope assembled or to disassemble it prior to storage.
Assemble vs Disassemble
'To be or not to be', that is the question. Well in this case, for your telescope, the question is 'to assemble or to disassemble'?
The truth is, it's really a matter of personal preference.
Many telescope owners choose to leave their telescope fully assembled simply because it is less of a hassle and mitigates the requirement to set it up each time they want to explore the night sky. It is completely safe to do so, as long as you keep it properly covered and protected (and of course taking into account the location considerations previously mentioned).
On the other hand, if you feel more comfortable disassembling your telescope and don't mind the time intensive setup process, then go that route. You may receive more peace of mind knowing that the house pet (or clumsy friend) won't accidentally knock over your equipment and cause damage.
If disassembling your telescope, ideally you should use a protection bag or case. Depending on your specific equipment, here are two solid options:
If you have a Dobsonian and require a lightweight shroud, you should take a look at these:
- Explore Scientific's Dobsonian Shroud for 16" Truss Tube
- Explore Scientific's Dobsonian Shroud for 10" or 12" Truss Tube
Finally, let's discuss the accessories.
How to store telescope accessories
As for the telescope's eyepieces, diagonals, Barlows and other accessories, you should manage them with just as much care as the telescope itself. The use of dust caps on both sides of eyepieces is a necessity. Best practice is to store these items in the case they came with or within secure pockets of telescope bags or cases, such as these:
In order to minimize any condensation build up, you should allow all components to adjust to room temperature prior to securing them. If you lack an appropriate case or bag, simply make sure that you securely seal the pouch or container you end up using for storage. This will serve as an additional protection to keep out dust particles and other irritants.
Now that you have a better understanding of the upkeep and maintenance of telescopes and telescope accessories, you may be ready to purchase or upgrade your equipment. If so, please do not hesitate to connect with a member of our team for assistance with product inquiries or any additional questions you might have.
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