If you’re looking to buy one or have already acquired one you might be wondering ‘where should I store my telescope?’ Here I cover the things you need to consider and the best options when looking to store your tube and optics.
Where should you store your telescope? It’s best to store your telescope in a dry and dust-free location away from direct sunlight and where ambient temperatures fluctuate little, i.e. no sudden marked changes in temperatures. Room temperature is fine within your home in a spare room or bedroom, with limited dust and humidity.
This is somewhat of a controlled environment.
I have mine stored in the corner of a living area. Some people have their telescopes stored in garages and lofts. One main thing to consider here is the extent of the temperature ranges in these areas. Are these places well insulated to avoid such?
Dust and mold
You need to consider the potential for dust and mold to settle on or in your instrument. These factors can play havoc with the glass surface and mechanism of eyepieces and the reflective surface of primary and secondary mirrors or lenses.
Where there is clogging with visible particles, a dirty lens, for example, you’ll want to clean it to avoid interference with your observations. Try using a can of compressed air or a camel hair brush to carefully do this. One of the worst outcomes is scratches due to friction as these are near impossible to remove.
So, it’s best to avoid dusty, humid, or heavily sunlit spots as these issues will reduce your enjoyment and the satisfactory performance of your telescope long-term.
The last thing you want is a heck of a lot of cleaning lenses, recalibrating, or fixing your telescope before you get to see a half-decent view of the moon on a good night for stargazing. Or, having far from perfect optics when it’s your best chance to see Saturn, Jupiter, or Mars through your telescope.
What you need to consider
How big is your telescope? How much room do you need?
How do I properly store my telescope?
It is best to store your telescope away from the external elements between each viewing session. That is, don’t leave it outside in between.
Here are some tips…
1. If you happen to be viewing with cold night air (or hot night), allow the telescope some time to adjust to the inside temperature, i.e. acclimatize, after your observing session once you’ve brought it inside. By the way, leaving your telescope outside for easy access the next night is one of those telescope storage mistakes.
How to acclimatize your telescope
This means putting off covering the optics or the telescope tube or tripod for an amount of time needed to bring the telescope to room temperature. This will allow any moisture from dew or condensation formed because of the cold night air to evaporate so you can safely store it without concern of mold or distortion of the lenses occuring.
2. After this, cover the lens/es and the tube with the caps provided by the manufacturer. These are designed to stop dust and insects from getting in and damaging the telescope optics or fouling the tube.
3. Ideal storage conditions: An unencumbered space (meaning away from the likelihood of accidental damage from visitors, pets, or kids, knocking the instrument), room temperature is best, no extreme temperature changes, low humidity, a dust-free environment, and no direct sunlight.
4. Unless you have a Dobsonian, you should look at removing the optical tube from the telescope mount/tripod to store separately for more protection. Depending on the size of your scope if may be stored in a closet, for example, horizontally or vertically.
5. Protect the scope from dust and dirt. You might have a dust sheet or a cover or case that came with the product. Especially if you are on the move or there’s likely to be some vibration in the storage area, look at storing the tube and optic in a case with foam protection.
More helpful tips on storing your telescope:
Having the tube oriented vertically or horizontally is considered the best as it reduces the force of the mirror’s weight on the focusing component. You want the least long-term stress on the focusing mechanism to avoid damage over time.
How to protect your telescope from dust
Covers and dust caps are important. Keep and use the dust covers that come with the instrument and the accessories. Otherwise, you might need to look at buying extras. Finally, follow the above tips.
For the reasons mentioned above, it’s best to inspect the spaces where you intend to store your telescope for potential issues of dust, mold, direct sunlight, as well as temperature range. It’s probably a good idea to consider where you are going to store your telescope before purchasing it.