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Full Review: 20" f3.0 SpicaEyes Telescope on a Platform

CloudyNights Review

Owners Speak Out

A Customer Review by Markus Hagi

Customer Comment of the Month
   Updated 11/23/23

 Astrophotography with a Platform
 MallinCam Imaging
 MallinCam at the 2010 OSP
 Image of the Month Updated 5/26/23



Equatorial Platforms
Phone/Fax 530-274-9113



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.

Al Clark of Madison, Alabama, built this beautiful telescope/Platform combo. The dob is an 8" f5.9, built around a Zambuto mirror, and the Platform Al built from parts and drive components that he obtained from us. Great job!


A C-11 on a Platform! Here is what owner, Gail Massey of Goleta, CA has to say about it:

"I've been using the aluminum dual-axis platform you built for me for more than two years now. As you may recall it was originally designed to work with my 10" F/6 Newtonian, which had been mounted on a classic Dobson base. The equatorial platform was essential in permitting me to perform imaging with a CCD camera, and I have used it with my 8" Newtonian as well. Last year it occurred to me that I could also use the equatorial platform with an 11" S-C tube assembly if it were held in a Dobson-type altitude bearing fixture. This turned out to be easy and very successful.

The attached photos show how this is done. On the aluminum equatorial platform I place the oak Dobsonian azimuth base I've always used with my Newtonians. The C11 tube is held inside a new lightweight rectangular adaptor box of 1/4" plywood fitted with an oak dovetail to grip the dovetail rail extrusion provided by Celestron on the bottom of the C11 tube assembly. My adaptor box was made exactly as wide as the altitude bearing box on my 10" Newtonian. On opposite vertical sides of the box I attached circular altitude bearings like the ones on the Newtonian. A small counterweight was mounted on the lower front of the C11 dovetail rail.

The top panel of the adaptor carries a 9X50 finder scope, a green laser, and a Rigel Quickfinder sight.

This arrangement is physically easier to set up than a conventional tripod mount for the Schmidt-Cassegrain, and the seated position for the observer is comfortable. The lower inside of the old Dobsonian base provides convenient storage for eyepieces and other items during an observing session. Because of the setup convenience and the accuracy of the platform this instrument now is the one I use most. I try to observe with it whenever our weather permits."

Ron Klein's 10" Orion Intelliscope on a Compact Platform 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."
Gary Bengier wanted his Compact Platform to match his OTA, so we did a nice white enamel finish for him. Gary says the Platform "works great."
Howard Banich's 20" Obsession on a Dual-axis Platform. Howard made his own Platform from parts he purchased from us. Great job, Howard!
Math Heijen in the Netherlands is using a Dual-axis Platform with his 12" Dob to do celestial sketching. His observing report of first light with the Platform can be seen here.
James Book of Ottawa, Ontario is using his 12.5" Obsession with a new Compact Platform. An Obsession stain and finish was applied to the Platform for a perfect match. James is using the Platform as a new groundboard for the scope's rocker box. This keeps the eyepiece height as low as possible.
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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