This Sky-Watcher Dobsonian has:
• fully multicoated 12” f/4.9 Newtonian reflector optics
• unique telescoping truss-tube design for compact transportability
• smooth Teflon bearings for altitude, with tension control
• aluminum plate with needle bearings for azimuth
• 2" Crayford focuser with 1.25" eyepiece adapter
• 10mm (150x) and 25mm (60x) 1.25” Plössl eyepieces
• 8 x 50mm right angle finderscope
With the 12” Sky-Watcher telescoping truss-tube Dobsonian, you don’t have to worry about lifting the scope’s diagonal mirror cage and trying to bolt it to swaying truss tubes in the dark as you do with other truss-tube Dobs. Sky-Watcher's revolutionary telescoping truss-tube system attaches the top of the truss tubes permanently to the diagonal mirror cage, with the bottom of the tubes sliding into three die-cast housings on the scope’s primary mirror tub.
This unique system allows the optical tube's diagonal mirror cage and three attached truss tubes to slide down onto the primary mirror tub and be locked in place to form one surprisingly compact assembly. By undoing the no-tool handles in the sides of the altazimuth base that hold the optical tube in the base, the cage and tub assembly can be lifted out of the scope’s altazimuth rocker base as a single unit for easy and secure transport.
Preparing the Sky-Watcher Dob for use involves simply unlocking the diagonal mirror cage and raising the cage until spring-loaded catches on the truss tubes snap into place in the primary mirror tub. This holds the cage in its fully-raised position while you tighten the no-tool locks at the base of the truss tubes to lock the diagonal mirror cage securely in position for observing.
For binoviewing without unwanted extra magnification, a second set of indents on the truss tubes allows the diagonal mirror cage to be lowered to a preset locking position on the truss poles. This lets you to use a binoviewer without needing a corrector or Barlow lens in the binoviewer to reach focus.
With a heaviest single component weight of only 46.2 pounds, the 12” Sky-Watcher is a telescope that most reasonably-fit individuals should be able to set up and transport with little or no problems. The complete 12” Sky-Watcher optical tube assembly – secondary mirror cage, truss tubes, and primary mirror tub – weighs only 46.2 pounds (21 kg). The altazimuth rocker box base it sits in weighs only 40.7 pounds (18.5 kg). Total weight is only 86.9 pounds, light for a full-sized 12” telescope.
The Sky-Watcher easily collapses in minutes into two reasonably small and light components that fit into most car trunks or into the back seat of even a compact car. Competitive truss-tube Dobs break down into four or more components – a secondary mirror cage, primary mirror tub, altazimuth rocker box base, and truss tubes (as many as six to be carried separately or packed into an optional carrying bag). It’s easy to see how the two-part Sky-Watcher has a definite convenience advantage over the four or more parts of a conventional truss-tube Dob. And, unlike bulky competitive solid-tube Sonotube or metal tube Dobs with an unwieldy 58” or 60” long optical tube, you don’t need a big car to transport this 12” Sky-Watcher.
Assembly and disassembly take only 10 minutes or so, with no tools needed. After you set up, particularly after traveling over bumpy roads to a dark sky site, take a few moments to check the collimation of the optics to assure peak performance and you are ready for an evening of fascinating viewing at your favorite dark sky location. If observing from your back yard, you can leave scope assembled and simply roll it outside using a hand truck or a JMI Wheeley Bar.
The 14” Sky-Watcher telescoping truss-tube Dobsonian is designed for visual observing only – to show you as much of the night skies as possible, and do it as conveniently and inexpensively as possible. Photography is not possible with a Dob.
Because of its reasonable component size, sensible individual component weights, and limited number of components to put together (after all, there are only two!), one fit individual can normally transport and set up the 12” Sky-Watcher telescoping truss-tube Dob. Its innovative and unique telescoping design gives Sky-Watcher users a cost-effective 12” telescope with unsurpassed compactness and transportability.
This Sky-Watcher Dob’s Optical Tube Assembly . . .
Newtonian reflector optics: 12” diameter parabolic primary mirror, with 2.75” m.a. diagonal mirror. Both are guaranteed to be diffraction-limited. The diagonal mirror cage and primary mirror tub are made of rolled aluminum, anodized and finished externally with a subtle and attractive star-field pattern. Painted die-cast and machined rims hold the aluminum truss tubes and optical components in precise alignment to minimize the need for frequent collimation.
Primary mirror: Grade A annealed optical glass, 12” diameter, 1500mm focal length, nominally f/5 (actually f/4.9) parabolic in a fully adjustable metal cell provides sharp and bright high contrast images of nebulas, galaxies, and star clusters. Lunar and planetary images are also sharp and crisp, but a neutral density (Moon) filter would certainly be called for to cut down on the incredible solar system brightness provided by this 12” mirror – almost 1900 times that of your eye. The center-spotted mirror is ground with computer-controlled accuracy, multicoated with aluminum and titanium dioxide for high reflectivity, and then overcoated with quartz for long life.
Diagonal mirror: Grade A annealed optical glass 2.6” m.a. diagonal mirror, mounted in a fully adjustable diagonal holder on a low-diffraction four-vane thin spring steel spider. The diagonal mirror is polished flat to diffraction-limited accuracy. As with the primary mirror, the diagonal is multicoated with aluminum and titanium dioxide for high reflectivity and overcoated with quartz for long life.
Finderscope: 8 x 50mm right-angle erect image achromatic crosshair design. The images in the finder are erect and right-reading, with star patterns looking just as you see them on star charts or with your bare eye. It is mounted near the focuser, with the finder eyepiece vertically aligned in the same direction as the telescope eyepiece. This eliminates the constant head twisting involved when switching between the horizontal orientation of a conventional Dob’s straight-through or red-dot finder and the vertical orientation of its focuser and eyepiece.
Focuser: Machined aluminum 2” Crayford focuser with a 1.25” eyepiece adapter.
Eyepieces: 10mm and 25mm 1.25” four-element Plössl eyepieces with a 52° apparent field. The 25mm provides a magnification of 60x with an actual field of view 0.86° across. That’s almost one and three-quarters as wide as the full Moon. The 25mm gives rich and expansive deep space views of star clouds, galaxies, and nebulas alike. The 10mm Plössl provides a stout 150x magnification with a 0.35° field of view, enough magnification to provide sharp close-up views of the Moon, planets, globular star clusters, multiple star systems, and more.
Optical Tube Dimensions: The telescoping 12" optical tube measures 15.75" (400mm) in diameter, 55" (1397mm) long when extended, but a much more compact 36" (914mm) in length when retracted. The eyepiece is approximately 55.5" above ground level when the optical tube is pointed at the zenith.
This Sky-Watcher Dob’s Base Assembly . . .
- Rocker box altazimuth base: The altazimuth rocker box that the mirror tub rides in is crafted of strong, lightweight, and water-resistant laminated particle board, as is the water-resistant ground board that the rocker box rides on. The base is shipped disassembled, but can be put together in about a half an hour using only a screwdriver and the supplied hardware. Teflon bearings in altitude with a tension clutch provide smooth and effortless vertical motion of the optical tube and let you adjust for varying eyepiece weights. For smooth motion in azimuth, the Sky-Watcher 12" Dob optical tube rides on an aluminum plate with needle bearings.
- Navigation knob: A navigation knob conveniently mounted below the focuser makes it easy to control the scope’ motion in any direction. The optical tube starts moving at a gentle touch – smoothly and with no fuss. Center on an object and the scope settles down immediately, with no shudder or vibration to mar your viewing experience.
- Carry handles/altitude tension control/eyepiece tray: The handles in the sides of the rocker box incorporate a tension control in altitude that lets you compensate for eyepieces of markedly differing weights. An eyepiece tray capable of holding one 2” and three 1.25” eyepieces attaches to the front of the rocker box above the supplied centrally-mounted carrying handle.
- Altazimuth base dimensions: 25" in diameter by 29" high.
What can you see through the 12” Sky-Watcher telescoping truss-tube Dob?
Everything in deep space appears brighter, and wider in extension, with the 12” Sky-Watcher. You now have the tremendous light gathering power to see faint and distant nebulas and galaxies that you’ve always wanted – almost 1900 times that of your unaided eye. Many of the objects that are a challenge to even see in smaller aperture telescopes now show their essential structure. Objects just within the threshold of visibility with a 10” aperture scope appear more prominent with the 12” and may be worth observing for extended periods. Comet hunters will delight in the fainter magnitudes that are possible to see in the 12” Sky-Watcher. Here at last is a telescope with the ability to visually tackle elusive deep-space gems like the Horsehead Nebula in Orion. In Perseus, the very faint 11th magnitude nebula M76 will be visible from a dark sky site, as will very faint planetary nebula M9 in Ursa Major. M61, the spiral galaxy in Virgo, reveals its spiral arms as you’ve always hoped to see them. The list goes on and on, and you will delight in planning your own nightly journeys of exploration.
Compared to an 8” or 10” scope, the increased resolution and greater light-gathering power of this Sky-Watcher’s 12” aperture is beyond just being impressive. It lets its lucky owner resolve many, many objects that smaller telescopes simply don't have the horsepower to show satisfactorily because they can't pull in enough light. Compared to an 8” scope, the 12” Sky-Watcher has 50% greater resolution of small details and two and a quarter times the light-gathering to reveal fainter objects. Even compared to a 10” scope, the 12” Sky-Watcher has 20% higher resolution and 44% greater light-gathering. The 12” Sky-Watcher's compact, telescoping optical tube design makes this super aperture 12” Dob a practical step up for the serious observer.
As with any large aperture telescope, the performance of the 12” Sky-Watcher on faint objects will be markedly improved by a dark sky observing site. Light-polluted city and suburban sites are definitely not recommended as the primary observing site for a 12” scope. Such sites require a nebula (light pollution) filter to take even limited advantage of its immense light-gathering.
While it is in deep space observing of galaxies and nebulas from a dark sky observing site that the 12” Sky-Watcher telescoping truss-tube Dob excels, significant planetary and lunar observing is also within its capability. All you need is a neutral density eyepiece filter to cut down the immense brightness of solar system objects seen through this “light bucket."
Taking advantage of the weight-saving sophistication of its telescoping truss-tube design, the 86.9 pound Sky-Watcher 12” Dobsonian makes it practical for almost any individual on his or her own to explore the heavens with a truly big scope, whether from a back yard or a distant dark sky observing site. This Sky-Watcher 12” telescoping truss-tube Dobsonian reflector will keep you happily observing the faint and distant outer reaches of the Universe for many years to come.