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Dobsonians on Platforms

A well-made Dobsonian telescope is an excellent observing machine. It features unmatched stability and smoothness of motion. Plus it is eminently compact and transportable. However, the Dobsonian has one major drawback -- no motor drive. You have to push it around to follow what you're viewing. This can get to be a hassle.

But set a Dobsonian on an Equatorial Platform and experience INSTANT MOTORIZED TRACKING -- 75 minutes at a time! Wherever you point you are tracking -- smoothly, precisely -- without losing stability, ease of operation and portability.

A Dobsonian mounted on an Equatorial Platform becomes the ULTIMATE USER-FRIENDLY TELESCOPE.

These Pictures of Dobs on Platforms were taken at various Star Parties.

Howard Banich's 20" Obsession on a Dual-axis Platform. Howard made his own Platform from parts he purchased from us. Great job, Howard! Steve Swayze's stunning 16" Dob on its Equatorial Platform. Steve and his brother, Bruce, put a variety of scopes on this Platform. Hulan Fleming's unusual home built 22" Dob on a Dual-axis Platform
Mike Powers with his fine looking 18" Starmaster on a Compact Platform. Corwin Matthews with his beautiful (and massive) 30" built by Chuck Dethloff. Corwin has his 350 lb scope on a Dual-axis Aluminum Platform. He has added a lot of extra "goodies" onto the scope, including an 8" finder, Sky Commander DSC's (which work very well with Platforms), an eyepiece rack, a weather station, star charts and more. Osypowski's homebuilt 22" Dob on a Dual-axis Aluminum Platform; Note how the north end of the Platform is blocked up to account for the 5 degree latitude change from Tom's home in northern California. This same Platform is used effectively from southern CA (RTMC) to the middle of Washington State (TMSP).
Thurman Miller's fine 20" Dob built by Chuck Dethloff. The scope sits on a Single-axis Platform. Gene Townsend's 12.5" Portaball on an Equatorial Platform. Check for Gene's letter on the "Owners Speak Out" page for his impressions about the Portaball/Platform combination. Rebecca Gee and her 15" Obsession on a Dual-axis Equatorial Platform
A 12.5" All-aluminum binocular telescope built by Bruce Sayre. This scope is sitting on a Dual-axis Aluminum Platform.
Here is an unusual configuration of a 13" Cassegrain optical system mounted Dobsonian style and sitting on a Dual-axis Aluminum Platform. The telescope and optics were made by Richard Wessling. The Platform is on a low stand to bring the eyepiece (mounted on the yellow mirror box) up to a convenient observing height. Mr. Wessling says, "This arrangement works really nicely."

Giving your big Dob the ability to track the
sky opens up new observing opportunities.

  • Now it is a real treat to use HIGHER POWERS. At 500x the Ring Nebula floats motionless in a velvety black sky - you can really try for the central star.

  • LUNAR AND PLANETARY OBSERVING takes on new meaning. During moments of super seeing, details can be fully studied and appreciated (Jupiter's belts or Saturn's ring system, for instance). There are no interruptions, no need to re-center a drifting planet. Spend all the time you want to make a drawing - without having to touch the telescope.

  • Your passion is ASTRO-IMAGING. No problem with an Equatorial Platform: your Dobsonian is tracking and camera-ready. This important Platform application is fully treated on our imaging page.

  • DEEP SKY DRAWING is reaching new levels of excellence and authenticity. For many observers, recording on paper what they see is a soul-satisfying activity. Good drawings take time, patience, more time. Here, the usefulness of an accurate tracking system is obvious.

  • You like to share your views at the eyepiece, perhaps bring out the "observer" in people. I remember one dark night with a group of new viewers at a star party. We did a fine tour of the September sky. Bright Globulars, Ring and Dumbell Nebulae, the Andromeda Galaxy. Then STEPHAN'S QUINTET. I put in 250x and for the next hour those five faint galaxies hung in the center of the field like tiny ghosts. Everyone had a chance to really see them, to come to terms with their remoteness.



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