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PlaneWave 12.5-Inch f/8 CDK OTA Telescope with Fused Silica Optics and Delta-T Pre-Wire

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  • Aperture: 12.5 inch
  • Focal Ratio: f/8
  • Focal Length: 2544 mm
  • Professional level performance at a hobbyist level price
  • Made in the USA 



PlaneWave 12.5-Inch f/8 CDK OTA Telescope with Fused Silica Optics and Delta-T Pre-Wire

Created to meet the demands of both the serious imager and visual observer, PlaneWave CDK, a revolutionary new telescope optical system invented by Dave Rowe, is offered at an unprecedented value for a telescope of this quality and aperture. The goal of the design was to make an affordable astrographic telescope with a large enough imaging plane to take advantage of the large format CCD cameras of today. The CDK design far exceeds the off-axis performance of most commercial telescope designs, including the Ritchey-Chretien. Most telescope images degrade as you move off-axis from either coma, off-axis astigmatism, or field curvature. The CDK design suffers from none of these problems. The CDK is coma-free, has no off-axis astigmatism, and has a flat field. The design is a simple and elegant solution to the problems posed above. The CDK consists of three components: an ellipsoidal primary mirror, a spherical secondary mirror and a lens group. All these components are optimized to work in concert in order to create superb pinpoint stars across the entire 52 mm image plane.


The PlaneWave CDK Optical Design...

One of the unique features of the CDK design is its ease of collimation and achievable centering tolerance for a telescope of its class. This ease of alignment and collimation guarantees the user will be sure to get the best performance out of the telescope possible, each and every night. The end result at the image plane of the CDK design is pinpoint stars from the center of the field of view out to the corner of the field of view. 


Comparison: CDK vs Ritchey-Chretien...

The Ritchey design was popularized as an astro-imaging telescope due to its use in many professional observatories. Although very difficult and expensive to manufacture and align, the Ritchey is successful in eliminating many of the problems that plague many other designs, namely off-axis coma. However the Ritchey does nothing to eliminate the damaging effects of off-axis astigmatism and field curvature.

The CDK design tackles the off-axis coma problem by integrating a pair of correcting lenses into a two-mirror design. The beauty is that this design also corrects for astigmatism and field curvature. Because the lenses are relatively close to the focal plane (unlike the Schmidt corrector plate found in various Schmidt-Cassegrain designs), and because these lenses work together as a doublet, there is no chromatic aberration. The CDK offers a wide aberration-free, flat field of view that allows the user to take full advantage of the very large imaging chip cameras in the marketplace today.

Having an aberration-free telescope design means nothing if the optics cannot be aligned properly. Many Ritchey owners never get to take full advantage of their instrument's performance because the Ritchey is very difficult to collimate. Aligning the hyperbolic secondary mirror's optical axis to the optical axis of the primary mirror is critical in the Ritchey design, and the tolerances are unforgiving. The secondary mirror of the CDK design is spherical. It has no optical axis and so the centering tolerance of the CDK secondary mirror is comparatively huge. With the help of some very simple tools, the CDK user will be able to set the secondary spacing, collimate the optics and begin enjoying the full performance potential the instrument has to offer within a few minutes.

The biggest component that degrades the off-axis performance of the RC is the de-focus, due to field curvature. In many diagrams shown by RC manufacturers, the diagrams look better than this because they are showing a curved field. This is fine for visual use because the eye can compensate for some amount of curvature of field. But CCD arrays are flat and so in order to evaluate the performance a spot diagrams and/or diffraction simulations requires a flat field as shown in this diagram.

PlaneWave 12.5-Inch CDK Features...
  • Carbon Fiber Tube Design: Minimizes thermal expansion which causes focus shift with changes in temperature.
  • Dovetail expansion joint: Allows for the difference in thermal expansion between carbon fiber and aluminum. The expansion joint allows the aluminum dovetail expand and contract without stressing the carbon fiber lower truss.
  • 2.75-inch Hedrick Focuser: Heavy duty no-slip focuser. The focus tube runs on 5 bearings and is driven by a lead-screw so there is no chance of slipping. It accepts an optional dial indicator and PlaneWave's EFA Kit to control many electronic accessories. The draw tube travel is 1.5-inch.
  • Cooling Fans: Three fans blow filtered air onto the back of the primary mirror to help it quickly equilibrate to the ambient temperature. The fans are controlled by a switch on the optical tube or can be controlled by a computer if the optional EFA Kit is purchased.


Important Order Information:

  • PlaneWave requires a 50-percent deposit at the time your order is placed. If you decide to cancel that order, the manufacturer will keep $250 from your deposit.
  • Shipping charges will be quoted separately. The quote will include a shipping crate.
  • The image shows optional equipment.


Aperture318 mm (12.5")
Exterior ColorCarbon Fiber
Focal Length2544 mm
Focal Ratiof/8
Limiting Stellar Magnitude14.5
Optical DesignCorrected Dall Kirkham
OTA Length31"
OTA Outer Diameter330mm
OTA Weight46 lbs.
Power Adapter IncludedDC Cable with Alligator Clips
Telescope SeriesPlanewave CDK
Warranty2 Year Warranty

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David Collings

PlaneWave 12.5 " CDK Telescope

Hello, I have been in astronomy for a very long and I am here to tell you that the quality of this PlaneWave 12.5" CDK telescope is as good as it gets. The stars in my images are perfectly round and the quality of these optics are awesome! I am so blown away by the images this telescope is taking I am going to have to go back and re shoot all the nebulae and galaxies I have shot before because the quality is that much better! I highly recommend PlaneWave Telescopes based on my personal experience. It is such a pleasure to own one such a fine piece of scientific equipment. Also, the customer support that I have received from Matt at PlaneWave has been just as awesome as their products. Money well spent!!!! Good Luck and Clear Skies, David Collings - Blue Ridge Observatory Sparta, North Carolina