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Mercury Transit-November 11th, 2019
2017 Solar Eclipse
14.5 inch Grab & Go Dobsonian
Observing from Mt St Helens
My Trend Setting Telescopes
24 inch f/4 Ultra Light Dobsonian
My Signature design   (custom built-homemade)
First Light June 15th, 2000, 8:25pm - Sold in March of 2009
Design Features
Large Altitude Bearing
Flex Board Azimuth Bearing
    Pyramid Shaped Spider
Lightweight Open Architecture


  The Philosophy was to make a large Aperture Telescope as light and minimalist as possible so that one person could handle it and that it would fit it into a small vehicle with room to spare for camping provisions.  The total weight was 105 pounds, with the heaviest piece 72 pounds, that being the Cell/Mirror combination.  The Pyramid Spider was built to place the Secondary high enough so the focuser could be placed above the Cage Ring, with the bottom of the Cage nesting on the "Mirror Box" for travel.   

The material used was Baltic Birch with an epoxy coating.  The outside of the Cage Ring was lined with an aluminum ring.  with a partial ring on the inside to give the Focuser additional support.  The Cell is an Astro Systems Baltic Birch with numerous holes and aluminum angle under and an Aluminum Strap wrapped around the rear outside to the Cell.  The trusses are made from foam filled 3/4 inch Graphite tubing and the Spider is made from Aluminum and Composite plates.  The tubing and plates were supplied by  Aerospace Composite Products

A Flex Board Azimuth with Cam Follower Bearings for the large Alt Bearing sits on a heavy Ground (Board) Base.  The Base is "hub-less" to permit Mirror clearance as the Telescope rotates to the horizon.  The Azimuth surface needed frequent cleaning to maintain smooth motion. 

The Primary Mirror was supplied by
Swayze Optical. 

Imitation is the greatest form of flattery...
 At the 2000 OSP walk about, I suggested that no one should try to take on this design because it is a lot of Aperture carried by few, yet reinforced components.  I expected the radical nature of the design would preclude almost everyone from wanting to build it and blogs would rip it for its open design that seemingly leaves the Mirror unprotected.  Yet many Amateurs have built similar models.  Seven years after my Telescope's First Light, Obsession introduced versions and others followed.  

It has, unintentionally, become my "signature design." 

..Click here to see more on this and other Telescopes
A Telescopes for
new & experienced Observers
do not recommend "goto" mounts for beginners.  I like the concept, but they are often troublesome to operate.   In reality, we still need to know the sky and what is worth looking at on a given night.  That comes from websites, Apps, books, charts and experience.

Dobsonians do not track, but you will find them easy to operate.  Equatorial Mounts with their tarcking is nice to have, but can be expensive, and awkawrd to transport and setup.   Often Equatorial Mounts are under-sized and by design can be very jiggly.  For all of the above, I do not recommend an Equatorial Mount for Beginners.

You should have no less than 3 to 4 good eyepieces (Plossls or better), including a good low power eyepiece.  You will find that the lowest power is your favorite.   Don't skimp on eyepieces.

Many have told me that they want an Equatorial Mount for Imaging.  Imaging is a field by its-self.  I have seen the interest in imaging faulter as quickly as it came.  And now the user is "stuck"  with a cumbersome setup spoiling the spotanaity of observing on a given night.  I recommend giving the casual observing a try first.  For me, my observing is done with dedicated equipment.
Explorer Scientific
8 inch f/6 Telescope
For beginners I recommend an 8 inch Dobsonian like the one shown or others similar.  The Dobsonian is excellent for beginners and experienced observers a like.  They offer great value for the cost.  They assemble quickly and are easy to use.  An 8 inch is a serious aperture with almost twice the light gathering power of a 6 inch without adding a lot of weight or foot print or volume.  It travels well in small vehicles.  An 8 inch provides a lot of bang for the buck.

The Southern Sky Connection
 from Leonardo Cavagnaro
Leo's Observing Website
Leo's Videos
The Southern Observer's Handbook  (PDF Book)
by Leo Cavagnaro
The perfect companion for the Southern Sky visitor.  This book contains large, easy to read chart's and detailed descriptions on 176 of the best Southern Sky Objects.  In addition, there are guides on numerous Double Stars.
click image for details

About Leo

My name is Leo Gabriel Cavagnaro. I live in Mendoza, one of the biggest cities in the west region of Argentina, situated close to the Andes Mountains. Mendoza is a friendly city to live in. It is a place of vineyards and wineries, good restaurants…and dark skies for undertaking astronomy.

I am an industrial engineer and amateur astronomer. I have enjoyed the starry skies since I was a child. I consider visual observation one of the most fruitful and amazing activities that any amateur can do. For this reason I wanted to bring this observing guide of the southern skies to help the night sky´s fans with their observations.

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