It might seem practical to just leave the telescope outside, mainly because one would just need to focus the eyepiece on the celestial being or phenomenon of choice. However, this might not be the best idea, not only because of the risk of it being stolen but also the effect the weather might have on the artifact in the long run. But what is the best course of action? Shall it be kept in a shed? Or, most importantly, can it be used outside? The answers will be provided below.
Before delving into the topic, it’s crucial to know that storing a telescope in a safe place is part of the required steps to handle it with care.
The reason behind this is that exposure to the elements can make or break its life expectancy, although, most of the time, these are built to last.
Even if they require little care when compared to other objects, neglect and abuse can have a huge impact on whether the owner will have a long-term relationship with their equipment or will need to go to the store next week to buy a new one.
What constitutes good storage for a telescope?
A dry, secure, and dust-free space that is large enough to get it in and out without an issue. It is recommended for telescopes to be stored in places that are close to the outside temperature, which reduces their cooling and warming time.
The quicker it adjusts to it, the faster the exploration will start, something that anyone would look forward to when it comes to the exploration of the sky in a starry night. Not only this will make it more efficient, but it also will give the experience a boost. With that being said, let’s jump right in.
Can you keep a telescope in a shed?
Absolutely! Keeping the telescope in a shed is one of the best options to store them outside alongside closets in unheated garages and wooden toolsheds.
However, it is important to vent the equipment outside so the air can circulate without an issue.
Although sheds are among the best options to store telescopes, one should be cautious of their material.
Why is that? Because metal, vinyl, and plastic tend to trap more heat than their wooden counterparts. Thus, the observer needs to get ahold of one of those if they consider leaving their telescope inside a shed.
Can you keep a telescope outside?
It is indeed possible to store it outside, although it is recommended to keep it protected from the elements.
If the user has chosen to do so, it is important to acquire a cover that prevents air pollution, insects, rain, dew, and several forms of dust from getting ahold of the equipment.
Of course, it would be wiser to keep the telescope in an enclosed environment, such as an out-building, or add an extra layer of protection with a structural cover.
On the other hand, the safest option is to keep it inside the house if possible.
Leaving a telescope outside doesn’t come without risks. Although, most high-quality models are built to last, handling them with proper care can make a difference, and part of this means keeping it protected from external forces, such as the weather and the elements.
While it’s true that they often come with caps that can be placed over the optics to keep it safe while they’re not being used, things like torrential rain, fog, dew, high wind, falling objects, insects, bugs, dust, animals and pollution particles, among other things, can deal severe damage on the equipment.
One thing that I recommend is to be aware of these to minimize any potential risk.
Keep in mind…
When it comes to leaving the telescope outside, size, weight, and set-up difficulty are among the things that shall be considered before even thinking about it.
Another thing to keep in mind is the available places to store them, mainly because this is a key factor in whether the equipment is going to be kept outside or not.
It might seem evident, yes, but having space indoors will get rid of the need of placing it outside. Larger and heavier telescopes are mostly kept outside since they’re harder to move than their smaller counterparts.
Aside from that, it would be better to keep it outside if the only place available for storage is the basement or garage, mainly because of the risk moving one of those upstairs represents.
Can you use a telescope in cold weather?
This will depend on the telescope itself, but more on that later. First off, some objects can be seen in their full splendor in winter, although the climate might prevent the observers from spotting them.
One of the recommendations that are provided by the experts at Orion is to dress up as if it was 10 degrees colder than what was said on the weather forecast, as well as keeping both feet and face warm when the temperature starts getting lower.
While its important to stay warm, this won’t be the main focus of the article.
Now, with that out of the way, is it truly possible to operate a telescope in cold weather? Sadly, that doesn’t seem to be the case.
Why is that? Well, despite them being durable, especially under proper maintenance, most models are made in warmer parts of the world.
The most common issues are lubrication and batteries, the former getting stuck because of how cold the ambiance is, while the latter tend to fail quicker depending on their size.
Thus, the smallest ones don’t have a very long life if they’re exposed to the cold exterior. Among other things, this is the main reason why telescopes need to be kept inside, preferably in an unheated garage or a shed, as was mentioned earlier.
It is also recommended to cap them tightly while bringing them outside, to prevent them from cooling any further, as it is likely to happen in either cold days or winter.