How to store a telescope is a thing that you should not overlook. Telescopes use optical lenses and mirrors that have to be protected. Based on the telescope size and design, you have a few storage options you can choose from.
The most important aspect of telescope storage is a constant temperature and dry environment. Do not store the telescope in the attic where it’s very hot or in the basement with a lot of moisture. It is also important to always protect the telescope optics, including eyepieces, with dust covers or to use telescope storage cases.
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How To Store Refracting Telescope
Refracting telescopes are closed systems with lenses, so you don’t have to worry too much about the dust and dirt coming inside the telescope.
But it is essential to protect the lenses with dust caps all the time. Refracting telescopes use multicoated lenses, and to get a scratch on the surface of the lens can ruin your refractor telescope.
If you are not using a storage box and want to keep it assembled for quick use, store it in the secured area to avoid kids or pets tipping the telescope over, resulting in broken lenses.
How To Store Reflecting Telescope
All the rules above for refracting telescopes applies for the reflecting telescopes storage as well.
But because the reflecting telescope is an open system with mirrors, there are a few more things I want to talk about. In my experience, having the dust caps on the reflecting telescope is not sufficient to prevent the dust from coming inside the telescope.
Let’s say you want to keep the telescope assembled, and you are not using a storage case or dust cover over the whole telescope.
The front dust cap will prevent the dust from coming inside, but the problem is the back of the reflecting telescope where the primary mirror is. This part is not sealed, and there is a gap between the mirror mounting and the tube.
This gap allows the dust to come inside the telescope, which is a big problem. What I do is that I like to cover the back of the telescope with a stretch wrap foil. For peace of mind, I also use it under the front dust cap to seal the reflecting telescope as much as possible to keep the dust out.
Telescope Storage Temperature
Telescope storage temperature is not as important as constant temperature in the storage area/case. The sudden temperature change will create condensation on your lenses or mirrors.
However, do not store the telescope in scorching places. In the reflecting telescopes, the heat can damage surfaces of the mirrors, and for the refracting telescope, heat can weaken the glue in the compound lenses.
When you start your stargazing session by bringing the telescope outside, the telescope needs to re-acclimatize to the ambient temperature outside for the best viewing experience.
It also applies after the session when you bring the telescope inside. If you plan to place the telescope in the storage case, it is very important to wait until it reaches room temperature. Leave it inside for a few hours before you put it in the storage case.
It will prevent condensation on your optics inside the storage box. And if you want to be super cautious, you can place a few silica sachets inside the case to control the humidity.
How To Store Telescope Eyepieces
Storing eyepieces is easy if you are using dust caps on both sides. Then you can place them anywhere you want, preferably a spot safe from pets and kids.
However, the good practice is storing them inside the case, so you have all eyepieces in one secured spot, and you don’t have to search for them. I like to use a simple universal case with the foam inside where you can customize the placement, and you can also use it for other accessories if there’s room left.
If you buy an eyepiece set like the Celestron Eyepiece Kit, it will come with a neat storage case.
But keep in mind that the temperature change applies here as well, like with the telescope. The optics in the eyepieces need to re-acclimatize to ambient temperature before the session and also after the stargazing session before you put them in the storage to prevent condensation.
Can I Leave My Telescope Outside?
Unless you have a backyard observatory, never leave your telescope outside, even if you use dust cups or telescope cover. The weather and temperature change can damage the optics.
Even if it is not raining, the moisture, fog, or morning dew can ruin your telescope. The rust can develop on metal parts of the telescope as well.
Telescopes are expensive and delicate instruments, so keep them always in a safe storage place or storage case. Don’t be lazy and keep them inside.
Leaving Telescope Mount Outside
Leaving the telescope mount outside is also not a good idea. If you think that it is safe, you are wrong.
The Telescope mount is an essential part of the whole setup, and it needs to be protected too. Especially if we are talking about motorized mounts that include a lot of electronics and gears that are easy to get damaged by the weather outside.
But if you have a manual mount that is not very expensive, you can leave it on the porch under the roof if you cover it with some waterproof cover. It will survive, but I still highly recommend to keep everything inside in dry conditions.
Can You Keep a Telescope In a Shed?
Keeping the telescope in the shed is a very common practice; in general, it is a safe place to store your telescope. If you don’t have enough space inside your house, the shed is the best option for you.
The only thing to look out for is what material is the shed build from. Metal and plastic sheds will get very hot inside during the summer months. As I said earlier in the article, this is the problem because the high temperature can damage your telescope.
Wooden sheds are the best option because they don’t get so hot as the metal and plastic counterparts. Just keep an eye on it in summer and monitor the temperatures. If they got very high, try to find another place to store the telescope.
Can I Store My Telescope In The Garage?
You can store the telescope in a garage. It is also commonplace for storage, but here are a few things to point out.
If you don’t use your garage for parking your car, it is OK, but there are problems if the car is inside. The engine fumes and the turbulence of dust when starting a car are not an ideal environment for storing the telescope.
Exhaust fumes can deposit a hydrocarbon haze on telescope optics that is hard to clean.
It also applies to other machinery you are using in the garage. The other issue here is mice and spiders. You have to be sure that the telescope is covered correctly or in the secure storage case. You don’t want to have cobwebs inside the telescope or cables damaged by the mice. The animal problem applies to a shed as well.
Additionally, you have to keep in mind the temperature in the summer.
Telescope As Home Decoration
Some people use their telescopes as room decorations. You have certainly seen it in movies and tv shows where telescopes are an excellent decoration item in the living room. It is a perfect option for storing a telescope, especially if you have an expensive one that looks good.
Or if you are lucky enough and have your own office at home, you can exhibit it there. Just make sure there is enough room to walk past it so that no one will trip over or tip over your precious.
I would suggest using your telescope as a home decoration only if you have enough room for it. You don’t want it to be a hazard for anyone, and also, you don’t want your telescope to get damaged.
Plus, do not forget everything I mentioned above about dust caps, etc.
Telescope Storage Case
If you don’t use the telescope very often, you can use the original box that it came in, or you can buy a dedicated storage case for the telescope.
These cases are not only safe storage, but they are perfect for transporting the telescope. If you plan to bring the telescope on a camping trip or live in the city and you have to travel to the dark side, the storage case is a must.
You can buy cases directly made for the type of telescope you have or build one yourself. It is not too hard.