TSA and telescopes

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Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Sep 29, 2015 1:20 pm
Real Name: Yee Jensen

TSA and telescopes

Post by YeeJensen »

I am looking to travel to Boulder, CO in two weeks and have been eyeing the Sky-Watcher ProED 100mm Doublet APO Refractor. It's about 41" long and weighs 26lbs. The tripod is separate. Any information on whether this scope can be classified as carry-on overhead luggage? And any recommendations on a collapsible tripod that I can just carry with the scope? Otherwise I would have to check components of it - and that's just a time hassle at the airport.
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Posts: 1208
Joined: Thu Jul 19, 2007 9:51 pm
Real Name: Clayton Lindsey
Location: Woodbury, MN

Re: TSA and telescopes

Post by clayton »

I have traveled with small refractor ( TV pronto) and eyepieces in its case as carry-on. However It was within the airlines carry on restrictions. It was 20.5" x 9" x 6.5" (52cm x 23cm x 17cm). Telescope and eyepieces totaled about 20lbs, It looks like a camera lens probably in the x-rays so I have never been asked to open it. I used a small Bogen photo-tripod which I packed in my checked luggage. The tripod was not a great choice but it was what I had at the time. A tripod with an alt-Az head was going to be my next purchase , but I sold the scope before I went down that road. See http://www.universalastronomics.com/DwarfStar.html for an example.

So from a TSA perspective no problems in my experience with a smaller telescope. Not to say some random inspector may want a look into the bag. The carrier will likely be your real problem. Your case length of 41 inches is too long for the normal carry on restrictions: 22 x 14 x 9 inches. I hesitate in even mentioning you try to disassemble the tube into smaller length pieces. I just don't think its worth the risk unless the telescope is designed for breakdown like a Borg.

Large binoculars may be a good relatively inexpensive alternative if you decide not to risk checked luggage.
Clayton Lindsey
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