The interns have been researching various options for transporting the two telescopes. There are few telescope case makers and their cases are typically custom-fit units and as such, quite pricey. However, as we have shown with the Celestron C8, cases such as the Pelican 1650 can be easily adapted for telescope transport. We have obtained a set of replacement foam from Case2Go for the 1650. Since the Pelican 1650 was large enough to handle the C8, it should have no problem handling the smaller NexStar C6. Case2Go is the go-to source for all kinds of pick-n-pluck foam, waterproof cases, and equipment transport solutions of all sizes.
We would have gone with Case2Go for a case for the Meade 10″ LX200 scope as well had we not come across a military-surplus option. The interns stumbled upon a year-old post on an astronomy forum discussion about alternative cases for transporting a 10″ LX200. One of the responders, Scott, mentioned he had a military-surplus case. As he no longer has the 10″ scope, he was happy to give it away to anyone willing to pay the shipping cost. However, since the discussion was over a year-old, the case was probably gone by now. Undaunted, the interns tracked Scott down and asked. Lo and be hold, the case was still unclaimed and available. Even more amazing for us, Scott also lives in MA! After a few emails, we met, picked up the case, and brought it back to the office.
The case is huge, but perfectly sized for transporting the 10″ LX200. The top of the case is deeper than the bottom. There are four handles are on the bottom tray. When the upper lid is removed, most of the equipment is easily accessible (because they’re sitting on a tray rather than packed into a box). This configuration makes a lot of sense because there is no heaving a heavy piece of gear out of a case.
The structural condition of the case is excellent. The integrity of the lip around the case is sound. There are no cracks or damage on either the top or the bottom lids. There are some cosmetic scuffs and nicks on the corners, a bit of grime and insect bits in some of the crevices, and a little bit of rust on some of the fittings. Nothing a wash and some touch-up would not quickly remedy. The gunk on the inside of the lids are is glue used to hold the original foam in place. We may take a sanding block to it to see if we can remove some more of it. However, we probably will not spend much effort on that as none of it would be visible once the interior foam is installed.
The military surplus route is an excellent low-cost option (even better if you can find one for free!) for those willing to roll up their sleeves and use some elbow grease. There are a few vendors on EBay selling military surpluses. The only down-side is, due to their size, the shipping cost can be expensive depending on the distance from the vendor. For folks on the East coast, you might want to check out AstroBuffet. What is even better is that besides selling used cases, AstroBuffet also has a few brand new ones (at a slightly higher cost).
This case is in excellent condition and we are grateful to Scott for his generous contribution. We will be cleaning up this case, refitting it with the foam for the 10″ LX200 GPS scope, and testing to see just how the whole setup feels duing transport. If you want to see the results, look for it in the iPad issue of RainyDayScience coming this Spring.