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Thread: Is cold weather bad for my telescope?

  1. #1
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    Is cold weather bad for my telescope?

    Hi everyone, I got my first telescope as a gift for christmas but I live in Quebec and I was wondering if the cold weather might be bad for my telescope? I don't know if it the kind changes something but it is a Celestron Powerseeker 127EQ and temperatures might go down to -25, -30 celcius sometimes. Thanks for the answers.

  2. #2
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    Extreme cold can cause lubricants to become stiff, and it could make some materials brittle. If you take the telescope from warm indoors to cold outdoor air, the mirrors will initially be distorted and the optical quality will suffer. This usually clears up if you give the telescope time to cool down to the outdoor temperature. I don't think there is any danger of cracking the mirrors under these conditions.

  3. #3
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    maybe some condensation on the mirror etc, taking it from warm to cold..
    Formerly Frog march..............

    She was only a farmer's daughter, but she was outstanding in her field.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mudskipper View Post
    maybe some condensation on the mirror etc, taking it from warm to cold..
    I have never had condensation when taking a warm telescope out into the cold. The trouble comes if I take a cold scope into warmer, humid air. That can happen when bringing it in from the cold, or when taking it from an air conditioned house out into hot and humid weather. Condensation during the night occurs when radiation cooling gets the scope cooler than the air and below the dew point.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by CosmicCastaway View Post
    Hi everyone, I got my first telescope as a gift for christmas but I live in Quebec and I was wondering if the cold weather might be bad for my telescope? I don't know if it the kind changes something but it is a Celestron Powerseeker 127EQ and temperatures might go down to -25, -30 celcius sometimes. Thanks for the answers.
    Hi, I'm an amateur astronomer based in Sweden and I have more experience than I'd like to operating in -20C and below. The most serious problem in cold weather is usually how to stay warm and comfortable yourself. As others have said the mechanical issues are usually with the lubricants used (they often become stiff at low temperatures) and this is one of the few problems that could cause actual damege. Another common problem is frost on lenses, mirrors and eyepieces but that is not very different from the problem of dew in warmer weather (dew is also or melded frost is also a cause of damage to electronics). The solution in to those issues are the same, heating elements and shrouds/dew shields.

    If you have questions on specifically regarding your equipment it would help to specify the equipment is. However the best place to ask is probably not a public forum but the manufacturer.
    Last edited by glappkaeft; 2018-Jan-06 at 01:41 PM.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by glappkaeft View Post
    Hi, I'm an amateur astronomer based in Sweden and I have more experience than I'd like to operating in -20C and below. The most serious problem in cold weather is usually how to stay warm and comfortable yourself. As others have said the mechanical issues are usually with the lubricants used (they often become stiff at low temperatures) and this is one of the few problems that could cause actual damege. Another common problem is frost on lenses, mirrors and eyepieces but that is not very different from the problem of dew in warmer weather (dew is also or melded frost is also a cause of damage to electronics). The solution in to those issues are the same, heating elements and shrouds/dew shields.

    If you have questions on specifically regarding your equipment it would help to specify the equipment is. However the best place to ask is probably not a public forum but the manufacturer.
    I have a Celestron PowerSeeker 127EQ. I dont really have anything else other than what came in the box. It is my first telescope I don't really know where to start but I thought about the cold weather before setting up anything wondering if it could damage my new telescope. I don't think that there actually is any electronics right now with what i have.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by CosmicCastaway View Post
    I have a Celestron PowerSeeker 127EQ. I dont really have anything else other than what came in the box. It is my first telescope I don't really know where to start but I thought about the cold weather before setting up anything wondering if it could damage my new telescope. I don't think that there actually is any electronics right now with what i have.
    Well, in that case there are probably two main areas of concern. The first is to make sure that the telescope dries (frost and dew on trapped in the tube should evaporate by ventilating the telescope into a warm/dry environment) after use. The other is to keep frost and dew from accumulating on your optics during observations so that you observations are not cut short. This can be easy or hard depending on your climate and current conditions but for a reflector a dew shield is usually sufficient to protect both the main mirror, secondary mirror and the bottom of the eyepiece from fogging/frosting. The front of the eye piece and both ends of the finder are trickier especially if you are not careful not to breath on the lenses (easy to do in the dark). Using the caps/lids when not in use, putting a dew shield on the finder front finder lens, keeping eyepieces not in use at the moment warm on your person, using electrical heaters or hair driers (on low/moderate heat) are common remedies to prevent or reverse problems with fogging or frost.

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