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PlaneWave 0.7m CDK Telescope System

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Product Code
Telescope Type
Corrected Dall-Kirkham
Aperture (mm)
700 mm
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PlaneWave Instruments brings a fully automated observatory class telescope to the market with the CDK700, a 0.7 meter Alt-Az telescope system. We are combining the revolutionary CDK optical design that founded PlaneWave Instruments with an innovative direct-drive alt/az mount technology that sets a new standard for small observatory telescopes.

CDK700 Features

  • Pinpoint stars out to a 70mm image circle

  • Dual Nasmyth focus, allowing simultaneous mounting of two instruments or easy switching between visual and imaging use

  • Direct-drive motors on each axis for smooth, fast, and virtually silent movement of the telescope

  • High resolution encoders on each axis for precise positioning

  • Zero backlash

  • Zero periodic error

  • PointXP mount modeling software

  • Field de-rotator / rotational field framing

An alt/az mount is inherently more stable than an equatorial mount since there is no cantilevered mass, nor are there any large protruding counterweights to create a dangerous hazard in a public observatory. An alt/az telescope is also considerably more compact than its equatorial counterpart, allowing a larger telescope to fit in a smaller enclosure. The mass it takes to make a rigid alt/az mount is substantially less, leading to cost savings. Unlike German Equatorial mounts, there are no meridian flips to deal with. You can image from horizon to horizon continuously if desired. Alt/Az is more intuitive to use and no polar alignment is needed. Besides, it is the way the big boys do it!

Benefits of Nasmyth Focus: The Nasmyth Focus is along the altitude axis so there are virtually no balancing issue as you change out equipment. Eyepieces remain at a constant wheelchair-accessible height, greatly simplifying access to the telescope for public observatories. The rotating tertiary mirror allows you to switch from one Nasmyth port to the other in just seconds, allowing observers to easily transition between imaging and visual use.

Rotating Tertiary Mirror - The CDK700 includes an integrated rotator for the tertiary mirror, with magnetic locks to position the mirror precisely for either Nasmyth focus position. The rotator can move from one port to the other in under 10 seconds.

Direct drive motors and encoders: Direct Drive motors mean that there are no gears to cause backlash and periodic error. With high-resolution encoders providing the feedback for the direct drive motors, not only will the telescope track without periodic error or have any backlash at all, but the mount will be able to counter against wind gusts. The direct drive motors can move the telescope at incredible speeds for tracking satellites or just to minimize target acquisition time.

CDK Optical Design:
The CDK (Corrected Dall-Kirkham) Optical Design is an innovative solution for unsurpassed astroimaging quality at an affordable price. The CDK telescope design provides excellent imaging with large format CCD cameras while remaining superb for visual use. The CDK design far exceeds the off-axis performance of most commercial telescope designs including the Ritchey-Chretien design.

Our design produces a flat, coma free and astigmatic free field of view. Since the secondary mirror is spherical, centering is very forgiving. This means it is easy to get the telescope optics aligned for optimum performance, which is not the case for most high-end astrographs. The end result at the image plane of the CDK design is no off-axis coma, no off-axis astigmatism, and a perfectly flat field all the way out to the edge of a 70mm image circle.  All this means that the stars will be pinpoints from the center of the field of view out to the corner of the field of view.


Specifications: PlaneWave 0.7m CDK Telescope System


  • Optical Design  -  Corrected Dall-Kirkham (CDK)

  • Aperture  -  700 mm (27.56 inch)

  • Focal Length  -  4540 mm

  • Focal ratio  -  6.5

  • Central Obstruction  -  47% of the Primary Mirror Diameter

  • Back Focus  -  305 mm (12 inch) from Mounting Surface

  • Weight   - 1,200 lbs

  • Optical Tube  -  Dual truss structure with Nasmyth focus

  • Optical Performance  -  1.8 micron RMS spots [25mm on-axis] (400 to 900nm) 4.4 micron RMS spots [21mm off-axis] (400 to 900nm) 6.8 micron RMS spots [35mm off-axis] (400 to 900nm) Spot Diagram  

  • Dimensions  -  93.73" H x 43.25" W x 39" D    

  • Optimal Field of View  -  70 mm (0.86 degrees)

  • Focus Position  -  Nasmyth Focus

  • Fully Baffled Field  -  60 mm

  • Image Scale  -  22 microns per arcsecond


  • Fork Assembly  -  Single piece U shaped fork arm assembly for maximum stiffness

  • Azimuth Bearing  -  20 inch diameter thrust bearing

  • Altitude Bearing  -  2 x 8.5 inch OD ball bearings

  • Optical Tube  -  Dual truss structure with Nasmyth focus


  • Motor Control    Industrial grade Parker brushless motor control system and built in electronics

  • Azimuth Motor    Direct Drive 3 Phase Axial-Flux Torque Motor

  • Altitude Motor    Direct Drive 3 Phase Axial-Flux Torque Motor

  • Encoder - Azimuth and Altitude    10 inch disk built into the azimuth and altitude axes with stainless steel encoder tape on the circumference with reader yields 16 million counts per revolution of the telescope. This translates to about 0.08 arcsecond resolution.

  • Motor Torque    Approximately 35 ft-lbs

  • Drive Electronics    Capable of controlling up to 4 high speed encoders, limit switch inputs, homing switch inputs, controls two additional motors for accessories, two brake outputs and 16 digital and 2 analog inputs

  • Telescope Control Software    Incorporates PointXP mount modeling software by Dave Rowe All ASCOM compatible.


  • Pointing Accuracy    10 arcsecond RMS with PointXP Model

  • Pointing Precision    2 arcsecond

  • Tracking Accuracy    1 arcsecond error over 3 minute period

  • System Natural Frequency    10 Hz or greater

  • Field De-Rotator Accuracy    3 microns of peak to peak error at 35mm off-axis over 1 hour of tracking (18 arc sec)


  • Radius of Curvature    4115mm

  • Optical Diameter    700 mm (27.56 inch)

  • Outer Diameter    714.38 mm (28.125 inch)

  • Core Diameter    203mm (8 inch)

  • Material    Pyrex or Borosilicate Precision Annealed

  • Edge Thickness    2.25 inch

  • Cell    18 point


  • Radius of curvature    2961 mm

  • Thickness    25 mm

  • Optical Diameter    312.4 mm (12.3 inch)

  • Outer Diameter    317.5 mm (12.5 inch)

  • Cell    3 point RTV


  • Optical Major Diameter    152.4 mm

  • Thickness    25 mm


What's in the Box

What's in the Box: PlaneWave 0.7m CDK Telescope System

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