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Sky-Watcher 8" Flextube SynScan GoTo Collapsible Dobsonian

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SKU: SKY-S11800
$1,450.00 $1,220.00

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Sky-Watcher 8” SynScan Flextube Dobsonian

Sky-Watcher Flextube Dobsonians are amazingly portable, even when you choose one of the larger models, like the 14” or 16”, but the Skywatcher 8” SynScan becomes small enough to fit in most hatchbacks or on a back seat! It is truly portable, and once assembled, can be set up and ready to rock in minutes.

Sky-Watcher SynScan Collapsible GoTo Dob telescopes with built-in WiFi control offer the convenience and affordability of the traditional Dobsonian with the convenience of a computerized Go-To telescope. The included SynScan AZ hand control allows you to point your telescope at a specific object, or even tour the night sky at the touch of a button! The user-friendly menu system allows automatic slewing to over 42,900+ objects after a simple two-star alignment procedure is performed. Even an inexperienced astronomer can master the features of the SynScan Dobsonian in a few observing sessions. The patented dual encoder design allows the telescope to be moved manually whenever the user wishes - but with no need for re-alignment!

What is a Dobsonian Telescope?

John Dobson, an avid amateur astronomer connected to the San Francisco Sidewalk Astronomers, designed a simple yet elegant telescope mount in the 1970’s that was easy to build and could handle a basic Newtonian telescope tube. Dobson wanted people to have the ability to build their own telescope out of inexpensive materials. In fact, hundreds of people, under Dobson’s tutelage, learned to grind their own mirrors, and these mirrors were put to use in what has come to be known as a “Dobsonian” telescope.

What makes a telescope a Dobsonian is the base that the telescope tube sits on. The tube itself is a simple Newtonian, designed by someone you may have heard of…Isaac Newton. Before John Dobson invented his simple telescope base, Newtonian telescopes were usually mounted on a large, heavy equatorial mount. They were neither simple, portable, nor inexpensive. Instead, Dobson made a heavy-duty box, modified to hold the optical tube, and mounted it on a lazy-suzan type base. The telescope tube only took a few simple modifications to allow it to ride on the base. When he had finished the final tweaking, a new alt-azimuth mount was born. The telescope could be pointed to anywhere in the sky by either rotating the box on the lazy-suzan base, or by pushing the telescope up or down. The Dobsonian was born.

How is the Flextube Dob Different From a Traditional Dobsonian?

Classic Newtonian telescopes consist of optics in a closed metal or treated cardboard tube. The Traditional Dobsonians from Sky-Watcher make use of this age-old design because of its relative ease of manufacture and therefore, low cost. However, because these tubes are closed (like a cardboard tube from an empty roll of paper towels, only bigger), storage or transport can sometimes be a challenge. To solve this problem, large Dobsonians were manufactured with a “Truss Tube” as opposed to a closed tube. Basically, the center part of the tube was replaced with struts…only the front and back of the tube, which held the optics, remained solid. This allowed the telescope tube to break down into several pieces (front end, back end, and individual struts), which instantly made it more portable.

The problem with truss tube telescopes, if there is one, has to do with all the pieces, especially the loose struts. Sometimes people would forget a strut at home, or it would become damaged, and the whole telescope wouldn’t or couldn’t go together. Sky-Watcher came up with an innovative idea by making the telescope “collapsible”. In other words, the telescope tube doesn’t break down into pieces. Instead, the trusses collapse into the bottom part of the telescope tube and allow the top part of the scope to sit nicely on the bottom piece. Voila! Your telescope has lost about half of its length but the components stay in place!

How the Sky-Watcher Tension Control Handle Improved the Dobsonian

The Dobsonian mount usually relies on the friction between the side bearings on the optical tube of the telescope and a frictional material on the saddle to hold the optical tube in place. If there is too much friction, the telescope is difficult to move to center an object in the field of view. If there is too little friction, the telescope will not stay where it is positioned. This makes stabilizing the optical tube of the telescope difficult when using a Dobsonian mount, especially when accessories, such as a finderscope or an eyepiece, are added to the optical tube. As long as the amount of friction is at an appropriate level, and therefore stabilization of the optical tube is achieved, the telescope can remain in its desired position to view an object and maintain its position, even when the mount is rotated.

The currently available devices for stabilizing a telescope on a Dobsonian mount include a sliding weight to counter balance the weight of the telescope, a friction lock that must be adjusted to inhibit movement of the telescope, and a spring attached between the telescope tube and mount to aid in stabilization. These devices are inconvenient to use because they do not provide a simple and user-friendly way to adjust the friction.

The object of the Sky-Watcher Tension Control Handle invention (US Patent No. 6,940,642) is to provide a tension adjuster that users can easily turn to add or reduce tension, thereby increasing or decreasing the friction between the optical tube and the sideboard of the mount. By providing such a tension adjuster, the telescope does not need to be balanced in order to stay in position. The tension adjuster can be tightened such that the optical tube can stay in a position but can still be moved when prompted to adjust the position of the optical tube. Alternatively, the tension adjuster can be completely tightened to lock the optical tube in position.

More About the SynScan AZ GoTo System

The Sky-Watcher SynScan AZ is a precision-engineered instrument that provides two different operation modes:

The Sky-Watcher Dobsonian SynScan telescope has a patented dual encoder design incorporated to record the position of the telescope. Under the Auto-Tracking Mode, you may choose to move the telescope, either manually or electronically, to any position without deactivating the tracking mode. After moving to a new object, the telescope will automatically begin to track the new object accurately. No re-setup is required in one observing session.

If you are familiar with the night sky, or if you wish to quickly set up the telescope for tracking an object, AUTO-TRACKING MODE will allow you to operate the telescope in the traditional way with added bonus of automatic tracking and digital setting circles.

The AZ GOTO MODE provides extensive computerized GoTo functions to assist you in finding and enjoying a multitude of night sky treasures, such as planets, nebulae, star clusters, galaxies and much more. The Sky-Watcher SynScan AZ Hand Control allows direct access to all the motion controls of the telescope as well as a 42,900 object database with a range of preset objects. The Hand Control comes with a dual-line, 16 character display screen that is backlit for comfortable viewing of the telescope information and scrolling text.

Sky-Watcher SynScan Flextube 8” Dobsonian Specs

  • Optical Design: Newtonian
  • Mirror Type: Parabolic
  • Primary Mirror Aperture: 203 mm
  • Secondary Mirror Aperture: 47 mm
  • Focal Length: 1200 mm
  • F/Ratio: F/5.9
  • Highest Practical Power: 406x
  • Faintest Stellar Magnitude: 14.2
  • Finder Scope: 8x50
  • Focuser Diameter: 2” with 1.25” adapter
  • Eyepiece: 1.25" Super 25 mm and 10 mm
  • Power Supply: 10 to 15 V DC 1Amp, 2.1mm Plug (Center positive)
  • Motor type: DC Servo Motors
  • Resolution: Motor encoder: 1,620,000 counts per revolution, Main axis encoder: 11,748 counts per revolution
  • Slew speeds: 1.0X, 2.0X, 8X, 16X, 32X, 200X, 400X, 600X, 800X, 1000X
  • Tracking Rates: Sidereal, Lunar, Solar
  • Tracking Mode: Dual Axes Tracking
  • Alignment Method: Brightest-Star Alignment, Two-Star Alignment
  • Database: 25 user defined objects. Complete M, NGC and IC catalog, partial SAO catalogues, total 42,900 objects
  • WiFi: Built-in control
  • Go-To Pointing Accuracy: Up to 5 arc min
  • Shipping Weight: 39 kg total (two boxes)

Please note that this Dobsonian will need some assembly, especially the base, which is flat-packed.