Every observatory needs basic maintenance, and those here at PEA are no different. I usually cringe at the thought, but cleaning is a part of the requirement… not that I dislike cleaning. I actually really find it meditative, and a clean observatory dome makes me smile. The cringe-feeling comes from the prospect of kicking up a ton of dust, pollen, cob webs, and such… all of which will have to come to rest some place: Hopefully not on any optics! EEEK! Scheduling the cleaning is a whole other game to play, as well. School ends in early June. A few weeks later, the summer school program begins, and then runs for 5 more weeks. Grass is growing and getting cut throughout June and summer, so, why clean if it’s going to get even more dusty and grassy and pollen-dusty…? So… I wait until the end of summer, when there is a cool, dry, sunny day, like today!
Step – one – cover the optics. Then cover the telescope tubes and mounts with trash bags. Open the dome and aperture.
Two – Vacuum the whole place from top to bottom. We have open studs, so there are a lot of nooks and crannies to work through.
Three – Damp wipe of surfaces, and then a scrub of the floor.
Four – wipe down the ladder and other step-stool devices used by observers throughout the year.
Five – wait for everything to be dry. A light breeze and sunny, dry weather help here. Today was a perfect day.
The result? A clean observatory with a bunch of displaced spiders and no more wasp nests. Webs are gone. Pollen and dust are gone. Happiness!