RE: taking telescope abroad
Yes Tenerife is quite heavily populated, but due to it's nature as an (almost) dormant volcano, almost all towns cling to the coastline. The National Park surrounding the Volcano and The national forest nature reserve that surrounds this are vitually free of any towns or villages. Above 5,000 ft everyone observes a nightime blackout due to the International Observatories located there. Almost the entire national park lies within an extinct volcanic caldera that forms a natural 'light shield' from the rest of the island. And the park sits about 8-9,000ft above sea level (Mt Teide is the highest mountain in Spain at about 12,500 ft). However, the real bonus for Tenerife's skies is to do with it's weather microclimate. Damien Peach explains this very well in his article "The Ultimate Location for Amateur Astronomy" which can be found under the sub-heading of published work on his website www.damienpeach.com .
I've made a little progress in researching taking a large telescope abroad:
- Storm make an excellent (if a little large) armoured hard plastic case that could easily hold an 8" (or even 10") SCT OTA, plus room for a couple of cases to store the counterbalance kit, finderscope, Autostar, eyepieces.
This is the model no 2975 (31.3"x20.4"x15.5"). You can buy this in the UK from Jitpak.com for about £225. This compares very favourably with similar hard cases from JMI which - on comparison - don't seem anywhere near as safe as those from Storm/Pelican, etc. Jitpak also have some excellent smaller budget cases for storing accessories.
- JMI also make a case specifically for the EQ5 head, that also has room for the counterbalance bar, Autostar, and some eyepieces. This can be bought for about £125 in the UK. However, If I buy this I'll still need to buy other cases for my laptop, and tripod. As an alternative, Lowepro and Tamrac make backpacks aimed at photographers that could easily store the EQ5 head, digital camera, a laptop, power supply, plenty of accessories, a coat, and your tripod strapped to the back of it. they compare favourably to the JMI case pricewise and have the added benefit of being able to carry them on your back (leaving your hands free). Does anybody have any experience of using these in an astronomical context?
- They're the plus points. The minus ones are weight issues; The Storm case fully loaded comes alarmingly close to the maximum permissable luggage weight (32kg) that a single item can be. Plus they'll charge you at least £30 excess to take this on the flight - if they have room!
- The backpack would probably fall within the 20kg hold luggage standard weight allowance.
- my only other concern in the context of Tenerife is in trying to lug 80+lb's of equipment around at 10,000ft altitude.
That's about it for now. I know what I am talking about may seem like an almost impossible task, but being a typical Eccentric Englishman I shall persevere and keep you all updated. In the mean time feel free to add anything you like.