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If you’re just getting into astronomy and are thinking of investing in large telescopes if you don’t already have one that are, I’m sure you’ve atleast given a bit of thought about leaving your device outside, on a patio for examples to save space and time right but, you also don’t really want to make a mistake that could result in your entire rig breaking down.
That’s why you’re here right now, to find out if it actually is okay to store your telescope outside.
To answer this question for the most part it is not okay and this is down to a number of reasons, whether it be as a result of rain, moisture or dew build up damaging the lenses, wind or dust potentially toppling the device over or scratching the surface of your telescopes lenses, bugs and spiders creating nests on your device and it even potentially catching fire.
So yeah, most experienced astronomers would definitely advise against storing your device outside however, if you follow the recommended procedures for keeping it outside whilst also not intending to leave it outside for extended periods of time.
It is technically possible to store your device outside with far few longer term adverse effects happening to your rig provided you know how to do so but, I’ll explain that in more detail throughout the rest of the review.
Why You Shouldn’t Store Your Telescope Outside
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There are quite a few legitimate reasons why storing your device outside at all times probably won’t do your telescope much good, especially if you keep the OTA tube outside too.
These issues include the following :
- Dew build up
- Rain and weather changes may damage the hardware
- Spiders and other bugs may start crawling into the device
- Dust and other forms of debris may scratch the lens or mirrors inside the tube
- Areas on your telescope may start rusting or start forming mold
If any of these negative elements do occur (which they most certainly would for most) your telescope could receive various forms of damage from the mounts electrical components breaking down, rust forming on the metal elements of your device, your lenses fogging up, damage to the coating on the lenses and so on.
When Is It Okay To Store Your Telescope Outside
Although it can be done, it obviously isn’t recommended however, if you’re adamant in wanting to keep atleast some parts of your telescope outside, leaving the mount and counterweight should be fine provided you cover and protect it with a solid waterproof cape.
If you’re unable to do this, there’s a good chance that your mount, particularly a computerised mount, may get damaged as I mentioned above and well at that point doing so may not have been your brightest of ideas right?
So, in theory leaving the mount outside and wrapping it up real good with multiple waterproof covers and then tying it up reasonably tight (to minimise bug infestations) is certainly doable but, it’s not always possible to cover everything so do expect some rust to form on the base.
As for the leaving the OTA tube outside as well, you can do this too but I certainly wouldn’t recommend doing so for extended periods of time as it could result in permanent damage to the most important part of your rig.
But, if constantly setting up your larger telescope (usually taking 30 mins+ to do) really frustrates as it has done for many stargazers, the next best option may be to leave it in a shed or even create a miniature observatory to minimise the setting up process and get to action far quicker and with a lot less work.
Is It Okay Store Your Telescope In A Shed
The short answer to this is yes it should be fine to leave your telescope in your shed provided you cover it up after every session.
However, there are a few things you need to take note of, specifically the material that the shed is built of. Wooden sheds are great for storing your telescope in whilst metal or vinyl based sheds tend to trap more heat resulting in more issues than the wooden counterparts.
Of course this is just to keep your device safe, as it could very well suffer from the same effects as storing your telescope outside so, if you’re unable to cover the device, place dust caps on all the relevant areas and even bolt the mount down so it doesn’t somehow topple over. In the end it should be fine to store in your shed although definitely not as good as storing it in your home.
Then again considering how long it can take for some telescopes to set, this option might really be something you’d want to do.
Equipment That May Be Useful If You Plan To Leave It Outside
If you do intend to keep your device or even in a shed there are a few pieces that myself and many others would recommend you purchase in order to minimise the negative effects that your telescope could face.
The equipments in question include the following :
- Waterproof coverings
- Lightbulb or a low wattage heater to keep the device warm
- Dust caps
- A fan for ventilation if your shed isn’t well ventilated
- Screws and bolts to attach the mount to the ground so it doesn’t topple over
- An optional roll out cart to ease the transportation of the device
Of course you can also turn your shed into an observatory specifically built for telescope but, that will require a lot more time and effort to create and only something you should do if you’re truly dedicated to the hobby and of course have enough free time to do so.
It will obviously be one of the better options though if you don’t want to go through the setting up process every time you have a moment to stargaze.
In summary although you can store telescope outside and there are many that have done so for extended periods of time, the decision also has its issues from bugs infesting the tubes, equipment getting rusty or damaged or even fires starting as a result of direct sunlight bouncing of the mirrors (this is a very rare occurrence though).
If you still for some reason want to store your telescope outside for the sake of convenience despite all the potential damages it could receive, I can’t tell you not to but, I would only recommend this path if you follow the right measures to minimise any potential damages. After all big and heavy telescopes aren’t cheap ya know…