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Transporting Telescopes

When Transporting a Dobsonian Telescope...

First, the tube and the base/rocker assembly should be moved separately.  Secure the base well so that if it shifts during transport, it will not hit the mirror tube.

Depending on the Dobsonian, you may be required to remove the mirror from the mirror cell and wrap it up carefully.  If the mirror must be removed, place it in its container and place the container on the floor of the vehicle.  The base/rocker assembly doesn't need to be protected from vibration, but wrapping a blanket around it will keep it from getting chips in the paint.

The open end of a Dobsonian telescope should face the rear of your vehicle.  In a sudden stop, the mirror will be pressed against the mirror cell and not torn from its mounting and breaking the secondary mirror and hiting other passengers in the vehicle!  If pointing the tube in this direction is not possible, the next best is to have the telescope crossways in the vehicle and seatbelted in at both ends.

When transporting a telescope, its a bad idea to go 4-wheeling :-).  For that matter, speed bumps, curbs, and uneven roadwork can cause optics to shift dramatically too.  Keep your speed reasonable on paved roads, and like you were driving with a crate of eggs anytime the road gets worse.  Think ahead about the road coming up.  Packing old pillows or several blankets under and around the telescope help dampen out the significant vibrations.

Transporting a Schmidt-Cassegrain

Schmidt-Cassegrains are not as prone to transportation damage as a reflecting telescope, but they should be well packed in some type of foam rubber.  Most owners have purchased an old trunk and fitted foam into it that surrounds their scope.  Such a case is easy to move around and secure in a vehicle.

Transporting a Refractor

Refractors are the least susceptible to  transportation damage and optical misalignment.  They should be well packed in some type of foam rubber, in a hard sided case like a Schmidt-Cassegrain.  Typically some disassembly of the mount/telescope system must be done prior to packing.  Since refractors are usually long thin tubes, care should be exercised not to dent the tube accidentally.  'Travel scopes' like the Televue Ranger or Pronto have custom made cases that should be used to keep them safe from damage.

 

Introduction to the Night Sky - Part I

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11/2011