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australia:tents_stargazing

swags, tents and inflatable / bubble tents for star gazing

Introduction

  • one of the joys of camping especially on a warmer night with clear skies in summer is the ability to observe the night sky from your warm bed
  • of course the best skies in Australia are in March-Oct when the centre of the Milky Way is visible at night but these will be cold nights
  • the visibility of stars through mesh does also depend on the type and color of the mesh
  • best viewing of meteors (shooting stars) is after midnight which is usually a time when mosquitoes are less bothersome and thus a clear view without obstruction by mesh or PVC is more an option if available
  • best viewing of deep sky objects such as comets, nebulae and star clusters is with a wide aperture binocular (eg 10×50) but these work best without mesh or PVC obstruction
  • there are a range of options:
    • most swags and hammocks allow mesh windows to view the sky
    • any tent will allow some view of the sky through mesh door or window but very few allow a wide ceiling mesh especially uninterrupted by poles and very few allow this to be removed (eg. OzTent RV Plus series)
  • viewing stars through mesh will result in stars being dimmer (perhaps 0.5-1 stellar magnitude loss), so you see much less of them and the mesh may cause diffraction effects so bright stars might appear as 3 stars
  • on cold humid nights, if you have exposed mesh without cover of a rain fly there is a significant risk of dew forming on the mesh overnight as the temperature drops and this will then fall into your tent getting you wet!
  • place the rain fly back over your tent if dew is expected to form (ie. temperature will drop below the dewpoint)

Tents with ceiling mesh viewable when fly is removed

Tents with clear PVC ceiling panels

Tents with large ceiling mesh which can be unzipped for telescopes

  • OzTent RV Plus series of tents
    • large, heavy tents (21-30kg) that pack to 2m long and need to be carried on roof racks
    • these tents are weatherproof without a fly but if using the fly, this will need to be retracted or removed

Clear Pop Up Tents and Gazebos

Consumer transparent bubble tents that do not need constant inflation

  • Football structure inflatable bubble tent that looks like half a soccer ball
    • PVC inflatable pipe tubing supports with large clear PVC windows
    • 4m diameter; 2.5m height;
    • comes with a 600W 220V air blower which takes ~10 minutes to inflate (ie. 100W of power so could be done with a 12V battery and an AC inverter)
    • ~$AU1600-1800 on Ebay

Consumer transparent bubble air dome tents that need constant inflation with an air blower

  • these are really designed for home backyards where there is access to AC power
  • often consist of a large 3.5m height clear dome attached to an 1.5m long 2.5m high entrance tunnel making a total of 5m wide
  • $AU1100-1200 on Ebay

Commercial bubble tents

  • these are generally set up for glampers to rent out in a specific location and are expensive

Polycarbonate clear fixed domes

  • these are generally fixed structures with a standard sized swinging door designed for backyards and can have curtains fitted
  • 4.5m diameter ones may cost $AU17,000 eg. Excelite Domes

Removable roof tents designed as telescope observatories with no mesh

australia/tents_stargazing.txt · Last modified: 2022/10/14 21:05 by gary1

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