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Old 25-07-2021, 12:10 AM
Efendy
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Taking your SCT to the beach

Hi all,

I've searched in the forums but couldn't find anything relevant.

I've bought an 8se recently. One of the dark sites I frequent is Robe, SA for surf fishing at night. Id also go to other beaches for the same purpose.
I am wondering if there are any potential issues taking the telescope to such places a couple of times a year? There will be sand and sea spray mixed with salt blown over the telescope and the mount depending on how much wind there is! Usually little at night.

Thoughts?

Thank you
Abdullah
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  #2  
Old 25-07-2021, 06:24 AM
JA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Efendy View Post
There will be sand and sea spray mixed with salt blown over the telescope and the mount depending on how much wind there is! Usually little at night.

Thoughts?

Thank you
Abdullah
Obviously that's not an ideal situation for a telescope, so if you must the best idea would be to minimise exposure by siting it away from the spray and not looking in to the wind as much as possible and using a cover of sorts. Perhaps a sheet, towel or blanket over the scope with a hole in it and fastened around the tube with a strap or band allowing the scope to poke through and use a lens cap when not viewing. Then on returning home carefully wipe down the mount and scope and clean the exposed optic as required.

Best
JA
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  #3  
Old 25-07-2021, 08:26 AM
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multiweb (Marc)
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Wind, sand and salt spray on glass and aluminium. What could possibly go wrong. Big no-no from me. Find an alternate site.
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  #4  
Old 25-07-2021, 11:55 AM
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mental4astro (Alexander)
kids+wife+scopes=happyman

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Abdullah,

My favourite sidewalk astronomy venue is the promenade along Coogee Beach here in Sydney. I have taken my 8" f/4 dob, ED80 refractor and an SCT there. BUT I am very careful about this.

Like everyone in astro I do look after my gear. I most certainly understand how sea spray and telescopes are not a good mix. I also cannot totally avoid sea spray because I live not a 2minute drive from the beach. So dealing with such coastal conditions are very pertinent to me.

When I do go down to Coogee beach, FIRST and foremost is the wind direction. If it is a sea breeze, not a chance. It has to be a shore wind. It is the only way to avoid a strong dose of sea spray.

Living on the coast has also had an impact on the types of scopes I use at home. While I LOVE my Newts, I use them sparingly from home because they are open tube instruments - the mirrors are totally exposed. The scopes I most use at home are my Maks and refractors. I have been using Maks and SCT's from home for more than 25 years now. These closed tube systems by far keep the mirrors in as good condition as using them anywhere else.

A few years ago I had to the chance to buy an outstanding 10" Takahashi Mewlon, and the ONLY reason I did not buy it was because it was an open tube OTA, and with my main fare from home is lunar and planetary, the optics of this outstanding instrument would be stuffed all too soon. I've stuck with Maks since.

Another thing to be aware of with sea spray is not just the optics but also the screws used in these scopes are just plated steel, and of questionable plating quality. It is these screws that will rust before anything else. You really need to be fastidious in how you look after your gear, how your clean it before stowing, and the conditions in which it is stored. I have seen poorly looked after scopes with as much rust on them as the Titanic. Sensitive electronics also do not like sea spray. If sea spray settles on the scope, unless you are meticulous at cleaning this of straight away, every time dew condenses on the scope, mount and what ever gear you have, capillary action will keep pulling that little bit of salt deeper and deeper into your gear. The consequences of sea spray are not just on the one night, but can be long term.

If you do take a scope with you to the beach, you will need to consider the risks involved for the long-term longevity. You may be better off taking a nice set of binos. You will be able to make better use of them during the day too. Binos are outstanding astro instruments too - they really are.

Alex.
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  #5  
Old 25-07-2021, 12:42 PM
Startrek (Martin)
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My South Coast dark site is 200m from the beach and up at 30m from sea level and prior to setting up my NexDome Obs back in March , I use to leave my newts on the mount outside in the yard with a tarp over them for the past 4 years ( just brought the imaging camera and laptop inside after each session )I even left the guide scope and guide camera connected outside too.
No issue with salt laden air corroding anything at this stage
I just properly covered them to the ground and made sure all screws , bolts and external unpainted chromed metal was lubricated with lithium grease and a bit of WD40 here and there.
Oh and my gear is lower end budget gear from Taiwan ( GSO , Skywatcher etc... ) not exactly high quality paint or chrome
I just clean my mirrors once every 6 to 12 months
Thatís it
And we get horrendous north easters here in summer too
Maybe in 10 years time things would be different but no problem in the past 4 years
Cheers
Martin
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Old 27-07-2021, 10:49 PM
Efendy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JA View Post
Obviously that's not an ideal situation for a telescope, so if you must the best idea would be to minimise exposure by siting it away from the spray and not looking in to the wind as much as possible and using a cover of sorts. Perhaps a sheet, towel or blanket over the scope with a hole in it and fastened around the tube with a strap or band allowing the scope to poke through and use a lens cap when not viewing. Then on returning home carefully wipe down the mount and scope and clean the exposed optic as required.

Best
JA
Hi JA,
Great ideas regarding covering the scope. I am pretty handy so I should be able to design a cover that protects the scope at a beach session.
I guess it'd be best to buy a dedicated tripod as I am sure sand and salt will find its way into it.

Cheers,
Abdullah
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  #7  
Old 28-07-2021, 11:38 AM
Efendy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by multiweb View Post
Wind, sand and salt spray on glass and aluminium. What could possibly go wrong. Big no-no from me. Find an alternate site.
Hi Marc,

I agree it's definitely not a very good combination. Especially when it's your first serious scope. A well designed cover would be a minimum before I would take it to the beach. I just don't want to miss out on the very dark skies there!

Cherrs
Abdullah
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  #8  
Old 28-07-2021, 11:58 AM
croweater (Richard)
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Hi Efendy, Why not leave the SE home? Buy a second hand Dob 6 or 8 inch (pretty cheap) then just take that. Keep your SE in great nick and have your dob as a "sacrificial" scope. Still should last years. (ps I was brought up on a farm just out of Robe and also was deckhand on rock lobster boat there for 4 years in my early 20's. Nice place to fish.
Cheers, Richard
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Old 30-07-2021, 10:10 AM
Efendy
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Hi Alex,

Thank you for the very detailed reply. All of your points have been taken on board.

I like your suggestion to take a pair of good binoculars or as Richard suggested a cheap, second hand dobsonian.

I have a compact Bushnell that I use to find the gutters in the beach but maybe it's time to upgrade to a full size one that I can also use for astronomy.

Cheers,
Abdullah


Quote:
Originally Posted by mental4astro View Post
Abdullah,

My favourite sidewalk astronomy venue is the promenade along Coogee Beach here in Sydney. I have taken my 8" f/4 dob, ED80 refractor and an SCT there. BUT I am very careful about this.

Like everyone in astro I do look after my gear. I most certainly understand how sea spray and telescopes are not a good mix. I also cannot totally avoid sea spray because I live not a 2minute drive from the beach. So dealing with such coastal conditions are very pertinent to me.

When I do go down to Coogee beach, FIRST and foremost is the wind direction. If it is a sea breeze, not a chance. It has to be a shore wind. It is the only way to avoid a strong dose of sea spray.

Living on the coast has also had an impact on the types of scopes I use at home. While I LOVE my Newts, I use them sparingly from home because they are open tube instruments - the mirrors are totally exposed. The scopes I most use at home are my Maks and refractors. I have been using Maks and SCT's from home for more than 25 years now. These closed tube systems by far keep the mirrors in as good condition as using them anywhere else.

A few years ago I had to the chance to buy an outstanding 10" Takahashi Mewlon, and the ONLY reason I did not buy it was because it was an open tube OTA, and with my main fare from home is lunar and planetary, the optics of this outstanding instrument would be stuffed all too soon. I've stuck with Maks since.

Another thing to be aware of with sea spray is not just the optics but also the screws used in these scopes are just plated steel, and of questionable plating quality. It is these screws that will rust before anything else. You really need to be fastidious in how you look after your gear, how your clean it before stowing, and the conditions in which it is stored. I have seen poorly looked after scopes with as much rust on them as the Titanic. Sensitive electronics also do not like sea spray. If sea spray settles on the scope, unless you are meticulous at cleaning this of straight away, every time dew condenses on the scope, mount and what ever gear you have, capillary action will keep pulling that little bit of salt deeper and deeper into your gear. The consequences of sea spray are not just on the one night, but can be long term.

If you do take a scope with you to the beach, you will need to consider the risks involved for the long-term longevity. You may be better off taking a nice set of binos. You will be able to make better use of them during the day too. Binos are outstanding astro instruments too - they really are.

Alex.
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  #10  
Old 30-07-2021, 10:14 AM
Efendy
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Hi Martin,

There is a lot of experimental data you've provided there. This gives me confidence that a cheap, second hand dobsonian or a newt rather than the 8se would do the trick.

Cheers,
Abdullah

Quote:
Originally Posted by Startrek View Post
My South Coast dark site is 200m from the beach and up at 30m from sea level and prior to setting up my NexDome Obs back in March , I use to leave my newts on the mount outside in the yard with a tarp over them for the past 4 years ( just brought the imaging camera and laptop inside after each session )I even left the guide scope and guide camera connected outside too.
No issue with salt laden air corroding anything at this stage
I just properly covered them to the ground and made sure all screws , bolts and external unpainted chromed metal was lubricated with lithium grease and a bit of WD40 here and there.
Oh and my gear is lower end budget gear from Taiwan ( GSO , Skywatcher etc... ) not exactly high quality paint or chrome
I just clean my mirrors once every 6 to 12 months
Thatís it
And we get horrendous north easters here in summer too
Maybe in 10 years time things would be different but no problem in the past 4 years
Cheers
Martin
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  #11  
Old 30-07-2021, 10:20 AM
Efendy
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Posts: 22
Hi Richard,

I think this is the best option. I already have experience with an 8" dob. It sounds very ideal to have a sacrificial scope. I have plenty of space on the roof tray. I'll make a plywood case for it and chuck it on the roof!

Robe/Kingston is great. You are blessed that you've spent a lot of time there.

I wish I could go there more often!

Cherrs,
Abdullah

Quote:
Originally Posted by croweater View Post
Hi Efendy, Why not leave the SE home? Buy a second hand Dob 6 or 8 inch (pretty cheap) then just take that. Keep your SE in great nick and have your dob as a "sacrificial" scope. Still should last years. (ps I was brought up on a farm just out of Robe and also was deckhand on rock lobster boat there for 4 years in my early 20's. Nice place to fish.
Cheers, Richard
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