Greetings to all who met me at Cherry Springs Star Party. A SkyStopper was one of the door prizes there, won by Kevin Frederick of PA

At Starfest, A SkyStopper will be one of the door prizes.

Thank-you to all the new customers who came to see me at AstroCATS.

Rest in Peace, John Dobson, who died on January 15, 2014 at the age of 98.

If you have a Dobsonian telescope (colloquiallly, a Dob) then the SkyStopper is right for you.

The latin word for 'Sky Stopper' is coelostat and they are used to focus the sun onto a stationary telscope. SkyStopper can do that, but also much more. SkyStopper will move your telescope so that you can see the stars stand still in the eyepiece view.

The SkyStopper Equatorial Platform is like no other.

Features and Capabilities

On the Resource page are links to various useful things, including the current revision of the User Guide and instructions. Also some useful information if you have an IntelliScope control. Resource Files

Technical Details

Price List

The SkyStopper Equatorial platform brings immense advantages. It makes your Dob a joy to use.

Not only is your Patent Pending SkyStopper custom made for your telescope dimensions and preferred observing latitude, it has features not available on any other equatorial platform at any price.

The allure of a large Dobsonian telescope is its large light gathering ability, and it allows high magnifications. Such a large mirror is impractical on a tripod or equatorial mount. An equatorial platform gets the best of both worlds. The Dob's existing construction maintains its collimation and rigidity, and the platform gradually follows the sky without any counterweights, and without having to change the way the Dob works.

Your big Dob will be completed by the SkyStopper. Your Dob will remain on target for up to 90 minutes, while you work on a sketch, check star charts, allow others to have a look, or just enjoy and inspect the view yourself.

You can seek targets at magnifications others can only dream about.

If your telescope has digital setting circles and/or alt-az drive capabilities, the SkyStopper is compatible with them.

You can use your Dobsonian Telescope for astrophotography. There's no eyepiece rotation with a SkyStopper. Your camera's time exposures are limited only by your camera electronics, the overall 90 minute travel time, and your telescope's sag. That's where guiding is useful. Attach a guide scope to your Dob, and with freely available software, you can fine tune the SkyStopper's actuators and right-ascension speed, to keep your target centred. Thanks to the SkyStopper's triple axis guiding, there is minimum or no rotation even at large guiding excursions.

Every SkyStopper is custom made based on the measurements of your telescope and weight. It is also custom made and calibrated for your preferred latitude, but can be used up to 5 degrees north or south of that latitude, with some easy to calculate adjustment to the angle of the base in the north-south direction.

The SkyStopper is motorized, and balanced for your telescope. When it is time to rewind, the motor accelerates into full reverse bringing the SkyStopper back to its starting point and ready for another 90 minutes of observing. You can also quickly rewind it or center it anytime, especially before you are planning to seek a new target.

The SkyStopper motors and guiding actuator and controller are all incorporated into the movable rocker platform. There are no wires to connect to the base when setting it up. If you pick up the rocker plate, the base stays on the ground as an independent piece. A quick release magnetic coupling connects the rocker to the base.

The SkyStopper geometry provides the most accurate tracking possible, and the computer compensates for the small variation due to tangent arm connection.

The SkyStopper has a pole-tune mode, where you can center a star or lunar crater in the direction you plan to observe, wait a minute and re-center it using the controls. Your SkyStopper will then track the object by extrapolating those guide motions until you slew the platform. That way you get the best tracking on your destination even if your polar alignment was a bit off. This centering depends on the direction the scope is pointed, so you would need to repeat it if you seek another target.

You control the SkyStopper via an included IR remote control. The SkyStopper software receives the signals and executes the commands. It can be configured to beep to indicate when commands have been received.

If you forget your remote, there is a pushbutton on the SkyStopper main control unit which can be used for quick rewind, and to change the rate to track the moon or solar speed. All basic functionality is accessible from the button.

Select natural wood grain finish (we use waterproof baltic birch plywood throughout) or varnish it yourself when you receive it. You can also request a factory paint job or custom finish, applied before the parts are assembled.

Your SkyStopper will give you many years of dependable service. It will bear the weather much more stoically than your telescope and it will disassemble into 2 lightweight parts for transport.

Your SkyStopper comes standard with a compass and pre-calibrated bubble level to make setup in your preferred location easy.

For the month of July, with no obligation to you, you can freeze the current prices and receive a further $50 discount on your purchase. Simply send in your telescope measurements, email contact information, and location. There's no time limit on the discount, and today's prices will be frozen for you for the rest of 2014. It's my way of thanking you for increasing my database of measured telescopes.

I did some tracking testing and guiding recently. I am still improving the settings on the guider, but the accuracy I have achieved is 2.5 arc seconds RMS with a casual setup and alignment. That's good enough for planetary and wide field, but not good enough for deep sky astro-photography. I continue to experiment with the settings.

To inquire about SkyStopper, and to get a copy of the Users Guide, please email me, Stephen Germann, at SkyStopper is made by Ekasilicon Technology Ltd, in Burlington Ontario Canada.

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