Planewave CDK20 f/6.8 with Fused Silica Mirrors & Delta-T Heaters

  • Telescope tube weight: 140 lbs.
  • Focal length: 3454 mm (136 inches)
  • Focal ratio: f/6.8
  • Aperture: 508 mm (20 inches)
  • Image Circle: 52 mm
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  • Regular price $29,500.00

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Planewave CDK20 f/6.8 with Fused Silica Mirrors & Delta-T Heaters

PlaneWave CDK 20 Features

  • Dual Carbon Fiber Truss Design: Minimizes thermal expansion which causes focus shift with changes in temperature
  • Carbon Fiber Lower Light Shroud: Protects the primary mirror from damage and from stray light
  • Dovetail expansion joint: Allows for the difference in thermal expansion between carbon fiber and aluminum. The expansion joint allows the aluminum dovetail to expand and contract without stressing the carbon fiber lower truss
  • 3.5 inch Hedrick Focuser: Heavy duty no-slip focuser. The focus tube runs on 5 bearings and is driven by a leadscrew so there is no chance of slipping. It accepts an optional dial indicator and PlaneWave's EFA Kit to control many electronic accessories. The drawtube travel is 1.3 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.
  • Delta-T Ready: Internally wired with polyimide film heater pads and temperature sensor that can be controlled with the (optional) Delta-T controller.

The PlaneWave CDK Design

Created to meet the demands of both the serious imager and visual observer, the PlaneWave CDK is a revolutionary new telescope optical system invented by Dave Rowe. 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.

The RMS spot sizes at the edge of a 35mm frame remain smaller than a single pixel on the most advanced CCD cameras available to amateurs today. 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 52mm image plane.

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.

In the comparison shown above the drastic difference in performance between the CDK and the RC is apparent. The biggest component that degrades the off-axis performance of the RC is the defocus 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.

What's in the Box:

  • PlaneWave CDK 20-Inch Carbon Fiber Truss Design OTA
    • Includes Dovetail Expansion Joint and 3 Cooling Fans
  • Ronchi 1.25-Inch Inner Diameter Spacer
  • Ronchi Ocular Screen for setting primary to secondary spacing
  • Primary Mirror Cover
  • PlaneWave Thumb Drive with software and documentation
  • 12VDC Power Supply (Not included with European Orders)
  • English Hex Wrench Set (European Orders Only)

Important Order Information:

  • Typical wait time is about 60 days from the date of order.
  • PlaneWave requires a 50% deposit at the time your order is placed. If you decide to cancel that order, the manufacturer will keep $800 from your deposit.
  • This telescope comes with a dovetail. Please let us know the mount you will be using with the CDK 20-inch on so we can provide the proper dovetail.
  • We also need to know which CCD camera you will be using so that we can inform you of the proper adapters for your set-up.
  • Shipping charges will be quoted separately. Just contact OPT for a shipping quote. The quote will include a shipping crate.
PlaneWave Instruments Product Number: CDK20


Aperture508 mm (20")
Back Focus147mm
Corrected Image Circle52mm
Dawes Limit0.03 arcseconds
Exterior ColorCarbon Fiber
Focal Length3454 mm
Focal Ratiof/6.8
Highest Magnification1016x
Light Gathering Power5267x
Limiting Magnitude17.3
Optical DesignCorrected Dall Kirkham
OTA Outer Diameter521mm
Power Adapter IncludedDC Cable with Alligator Clips
Telescope SeriesPlanewave CDK
Tube Length1194mm
Warranty2 Year Warranty


Customer Reviews
5.0 Based on 1 Reviews
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Customer review

I have had one for 5 months now, and i can say that its very well made, rigid, and yet a very delicate instrument. Usable both as a visual or imaging telescope. Breathtaking tak sharp views with wide field eyepieces, and the well designed baffling takes care of the open truss design. Solid focuser, good electronic feedback from internal sensors mounted around the rear truss, and displayed on the hand controller. Very easy collimation, with no special tools to align, except for a Ronchi eyepiece which is supplied with the telescope. Takes minutes to collimate, and yet, has very little affect even if out of collimation. Recommended for those who need more time imaging and less setting up. Produces razor sharp views without any distortions that are inherent in other designs. No need for flattners to create pin point stars across large frame CCD sensors. Service is impeccable, with great backup support from the people at Planewave regardless of where you are in the world. Do yourself a favour, and go look at or into one. Theo Gama Electronics Pty. Ltd