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How to Protect and Store a Telescope

A telescope is a fun tool that allows you to see beyond what you can see with your naked eye. You can spend hours observing the sky, gazing at the stars, and finding other cosmic entities. However, the fun will only last so long if you don’t know how to properly care for your telescope. Telescopes are fragile. It doesn’t take much to break certain parts or scratch the lens. You have to be careful when using and caring for them. If you need help learning to clean and store your telescope, DAK Self-Storage is here to help!

Protecting While in Use

Moisture

When caring for a telescope, moisture should be your biggest concern. Most of the time, telescopes are used outside which means they are exposed to the elements. The most important parts to protect are the lenses, mirror, and electronic components. If you are using the telescope when the ground is wet, raise the power plug off the ground.

You should keep the eyepieces covered at all times. Only take the caps off when you are ready to use them. This will help minimize their exposure to the elements. If your cap is missing, improvise. You can attach a plastic bag or cloth over the tube with a rubber band. If you have any maps or charts, be sure to protect them as well. If you are storing your telescope at DAK Self-Storage and need supplies, we offer an on-site supply store for your convenience.

When you are finished using your telescope for the night, the best way to make sure it is safe is to bring it inside. Find a soft cloth, such as Terrycloth, and carefully wipe off the metal and plastic parts. Remember to avoid the optical parts! Even if they have moisture on them, they should not be touched. However, the eyepiece holder should always be plugged up. This prevents moisture from condensing inside of the telescope. If you want to, you can cover the entire telescope with a pillowcase or sheet.

Temperature

Berks County temperatures can impact anything you store at DAK Self-Storage, especially telescopes. The electric components are sensitive to extreme temperatures. When it’s cold, keep your hand controls in a warmer place whenever possible. If you move inside, take them with you or store them in an insulated bag. If you don’t, their ability to function accurately may be affected. Conversely, too much sun can cause your electronics to overheat.

In winter you have to be very careful that moisture does not turn into frost. If you think moisture is going to be a problem, take it inside. Even if moisture has not formed on the lens, securely attach the lens cap. Ignore any condensation for the time being. Let your telescope warm up and dry off naturally. Do not touch it or peak at the parts until the telescope has reached room temperature. Once it does, you can inspect the pieces for leftover moisture. If it is dry, you can store it away.

In warmer months, you need to avoid too much heat. Do not let your telescope sit out in direct sun for too long. If you do, the inside of the telescope will become extremely hot. The telescope does not have any form of ventilation. If moisture gets on the lens, leave it uncovered and let the water evaporate on its own.

Storing Long-Term

Before cleaning, disassembling, or storing your telescope at DAK Self-Storage, be sure to refer to your manual for special care tips.

Cleaning

Every item you plan on keeping at DAK Self-Storage should be cleaned before storing. When it comes to telescopes, your first priority should be to keep dust away. Yet, sometimes accumulated dirt is unavoidable. If you have to clean any part of your telescope, you will have to do so carefully. Do not use household cleaners on your telescope. Special optic solutions are available to clean the sensitive pieces of your telescope. Other than that, you should only need water and a soft cloth.

If your lens gets too dirty, they will require extra care and attention. It is important to NEVER touch the surface of the lens. The oil on your skin can destroy the optical coatings. If you have to brush off dust, use a camel’s hair brush and use as little force as possible. For more than dust, use a soft wipe or pure cotton to gently swirl optic solution across the lens.

Mirrors are just as sensitive as the lens if not more. If you must clean your mirrors, carefully clean the sink and lay a clean towel down. Run room-temperature water over the surface for a few minutes. Then rinse with distilled water to avoid mineral deposits. Set the mirror on its edge to dry. If there is tougher dirt use a squirt of liquid detergent and let it soak for 5-10 minutes. Then clean it gently as you would the lens with water.  Finish with a distilled water rinse and let it dry on its edge.  If you need extra help, contact the manufacturer.

Storing at DAK Self-Storage

When storing your telescope at DAK Self-Storage, be sure to use a climate-controlled unit. You can view available units here: https://ecom.quikstor.com/dakselfstorage/ShowAvailableUnits.aspx?action=rent. Make sure all of the caps are secure on the telescope and ensure that everything, including the packaging, is dry. You don’t want rust, mold or fungus.

Even if you are planning to store your telescope at DAK Self-Storage long-term, it will do your telescope good to take it out every once in a while. This will help ensure that dust doesn’t settle and damage the parts. The lubricant on the gears and knobs will also redistribute if the telescope is left in the same position for too long. If you frequently inspect your telescope, you can catch potential problems before they get too bad.

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