Is It OK To Leave Telescope Outside?

If you have purchased a new telescope, then you probably want to use it to its full potential.

And this can often mean setting it up in the backyard so that you may get a better look at the planets and stars. Telescopes are usually cumbersome in their design, which means they can be strenuous to set up and difficult to store in your home. 

Is It OK To Leave Telescope Outside

So difficult in fact, that you may even consider just leaving your telescope set up in the garden.

After all, this will help you to save time and effort during the night. But is it okay to leave your telescope outside? Well, the answer to that does depend on your personal preferences. 

If you are interested in leaving your telescope set up outside, then some positives and negatives should be considered first.

Below, we have collected some handy information about leaving your telescope outside, and how it can be beneficial and dangerous. So check it out and see if you are prepared to leave your telescope outside. 

Can you leave a telescope outside?

Short answer, yes. However, if you are planning to leave your telescope outside, certain variables need to be taken into account. 

Pursuing astronomy as a passion can be a very expensive endeavour and buying a professional telescope could cost you thousands of dollars. Certain telescopes (like those produced by Orion) are designed to be durable and long-lasting.

This, however, does not mean that you should neglect the upkeep of your telescope and its maintenance. Telescopes should be treated with respect, which means handled delicately, stored away properly and protected from the elements.

And unfortunately, there is no guarantee that you will be able to uphold these standards after you have left your telescope outside.

Although telescopes are large and durable, they are also made of materials such as metal and glass - materials that can suffer damage when exposed to certain environments and weathers. 

So before you leave your telescope outside, you have to consider the conditions you are exposing it to. 

Should you leave your telescope outside?

A telescope will most likely be one of the most expensive purchases that you will ever make. So you will want to make sure that you care for your telescope to the best of your capabilities.

And leaving it outside for long periods could be counter-effective to this goal. When leaving your telescope outside, you are exposing it to various dangers that could cause lasting or even permanent damage. Dangers such as:

  • High Winds
  • Heavy Rainfall
  • Fog and Mist
  • Dew and Moisture
  • Animals and Insects
  • Dust and Pollution
  • Theft

By being aware of these dangers, you may be able to minimize the possibility of fatal damage. Although these dangers can often vary in their scope, depending on where you are located, they should always be considered before leaving your telescope outside.

If you want to assure the safety of your telescope during these conditions, then there are some methods that can be considered. 

For example, we would recommend purchasing a telescope cover if you intend to leave it outside for long periods during the night.

Telescope covers are often made of tear-resistant fabric with waterproof lining, which makes them perfect for protecting your telescope from natural elements.

Another way you can assure the safety of your telescope is by understanding the conditions of the environment you are leaving it in. 

If you live somewhere that gets very little rain throughout the year, then chances are your telescope can be left outside without the concern of water damaging the metal.

However, you do also have to consider how different temperatures can also affect your telescope. 

Can you leave a telescope in the cold?

Yes! Of course, you can. However, that doesn’t mean that using your telescope in cold weather is particularly simple. When operating your telescope in the comfort of your home, the telescope itself will begin to acclimate to its surroundings.

This means that the metal of the telescope and the air inside the central tube will begin to get warm. This is perfectly fine when using your telescope indoors, however, taking a warm telescope and suddenly placing it in a cold environment could prove disastrous. 

Because the air inside the telescope will be warm, the sudden difference in temperature could make the telescope’s image blurry and undistinguished.

To combat this, it is recommended that you set up your telescope outside an hour before you intend to use it. By doing this, you are allowing the telescope to adjust to its new surroundings, letting the metal and air cool in a gradual way.

It is also important to keep all covers and lens caps on the telescope during this process, as this will prevent the possibility of moisture entering the telescope and damaging the interior. 

Can you use a telescope in the winter?

Although the idea of using your telescope in the winter may seem ludicrous, it’s an experience that should not be missed out on.

During the winter you are likely to see some of the most breathtaking cosmic sights you have ever witnessed, so don’t let a thing like the cold weather get in your way.

If you want to use your telescope but without having to face the icy winds, then you are capable of setting up your telescope next to a window in your home. This will allow you to catch amazing views of the night sky while also staying warm and comfortable. 

However, it is also possible to pack up your telescope and take it out into the garden for a clearer and better view.

For this, we do suggest dressing as warmly as possible and implementing equipment such as dew shields and lens warmers to protect your telescope from the elements. 

If you have been using your telescope indoors, then we do suggest setting up your telescope in the garden an hour before you intend to use it, so that it can adjust to the cold temperatures. 

Gordon Watts