Thursday, April 14, 2011

Moving telescopes more easily

As every amateur astronomer knows, telescopes get bigger and heavier really quickly as the aperture increases. That was why I built the 15-inch as a truss-tube, there would be no way I could even get it into and out of the house if I built it with a solid tube. Indeed, it would possibly weigh at least as much as I do and it would require a truck or van to take to a dark site. That is why a 10-inch F/4.5 or F/5 is the biggest telescope where a solid tube is practical, at least for one that has to be put into the family car. While I can carry my 10-inch, it's quite heavy and I have to carry it over steps too. Then I have to connect and disconnect all the dew heaters and other electrical equipment when I set it up and take it back into the house.

Therefore I took at look at the handles I made for the 15-inch, and realized they will also work on the 10-inch too.  I bought four threaded inserts and placed them in the sides of the rocker box in such a manner the wheels just clear the ground. Before driving them home with a bolt, nut and wrench, I coated them with epoxy glue to keep them from coming back out. Now I can roll the 10-inch outside in one trip, with everything connected and ready to go. Having one set of wheelbarrow handles that can be used for more than one telescope not only saves time and money, but space as well because they are bulky and heavy items in and of themselves. It seems to me that wheelbarrow handles as standard equipment  would be a good idea to include with any Dobsonian of 10-inches or more in aperture. This way it's much easier to set up and use the "hot water heater" Dobs even for those who have back or other problems that make moving heavy objects impossible or diifficult.

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