Whether it's a single large scope or a whole collection of different telescopes, finding space to store them safely can be difficult. If you spend most of your observing time at dark sky sites, a storage unit could be an excellent storage solution. Simply pick up the scope you need on your way out to your favorite observing field. The following tips will help ensure that they are stored properly and safely.
Tip #1: Protect Your Mirrors
Larger reflector telescopes usually break down into different components comprised of struts and the mirror box. The best protection for these mirror boxes is to place them inside of a slightly larger cardboard box or plastic tote so you can close the lid against damage. For smaller scopes that don't break down, keep the tube cap and the eye piece caps on at all times during storage. This keeps both dust off the mirror and and prevents debris from settling inside the telescope tube.
Tip #2: Store Upright
The big mirror in a reflector scope is the most valuable part of the scope so it is usually screwed in pretty securely. For even more security, store the tube either on its side or place it upright with the big mirror on the bottom. That way you don't have to worry about it coming loose and falling. For refractor scopes, it is the magnifying lenses that you have to think about. Refractors are typically stored off their tripod and in a case. If you don't have a case, store them in a box that is well padded with blankets or towels.
Tip #3: Clean It Up
Before storing the scope and eye pieces away, take a few minutes to make sure they are clean. You can clean eye pieces very carefully with a lens cleaner and a lint-free cloth. Telescope eye pieces are coated, so you don't want to scratch this coating. Make sure you also clean the rubber cup around the eye piece, too, since this can collect oils from your skin. After the eye pieces are clean, make sure the outer tube of the scope is dusted and check the tripod, especially the feet, for mud and dirt.
Tip #4: Keep It Together
Unless you have a simple Dobsonian style ground mount, your tripod, weights, and scope will be in different pieces. In this case, make sure all mount and tripod hardware, including balancing weights, are kept together. Large heavy-duty storage tubs or cases work well for this. Label the case with the scope the mounting gear belongs to. If you have several scopes, consider color coding the scope and tripod cases so you can easily pair them up when you are grabbing your gear in the evening.
To learn more, contact a storage unit company like North Star Mini Storage.