A Postcard From SDM#099!

28th Oct 2016, Shawka Dam, UAE

Dear Pete,

Following a long, hot and humid summer in the UAE, the sudden drop in temperature marks the start of the outdoor season and a chance to wheel out Zeùs under dark skies again.

Our dark sky location is situated approx. 80km east of Dubai, towards the Omani border near the small hillside village of Shawka. Amongst the craggy rock landscape, I set up in a public car park 421m above sea level. The overall seeing was good with above average transparency despite the Dubai sky glow to the western horizon. The eastern and southern sky was the main target area for the night.

Whilst eagerly awaiting Orion to rimg_0017-largeise over the hill range, I spent time in Auriga taking in the fantastic views of its open clusters with M37 stealing the show. The depth, structure and colour on offer was truly remarkable. A short slew over to M35 which was made better by the compact open cluster NGC 2158 bombing the view in the background.

The Planet Uranus was high in the sky and displayed a sharp disk with a sprinkling of faint moons accompanying it. Nice. Continue reading

Big in Dubai!

In a land where only the finest is good enough and in a city where stands the tallest building in the world, it seems only fitting that the magnificent SDM#099 had found its home.


This outstanding 18? f/4 is finished to the highest standard with every conceivable extra to ensure that the exquisite optic from Mike Lockwood performs to its best.

It’s wearing the ultimate in technology too, with ServoCat, 32k encoders and the very latest astronomical brain – the Nexus DSC.

Add first light from its new owner, Stefan Zietara:” … It was full of detail and fabulous contrast. I stopped down on the EP and the image went into 4K!  Highest definition I’ve experienced in any scope, refractor included. Mega Happy Chap!! Wow! …”

Read the full report when you visit Zeus.


Now See This!

Proud owner of SDM056 Garin Taylor has created this excellent ‘how-to’ video of the transport and assembly process of his 18″ masterpiece. Well done Garin – you show just how portable a monster dob really is!

SDM is 010!

It seems like yesterday when aperture fever took hold of Peter Robbins and he came to SDM to build his dream telescope. Ten years later on, our inaugural customer and owner of the magnificent 30″ f/5 monster that is SDM#001 SDM1_030is still passionate about his scope and is often seen at star parties and community events generously sharing his eyepiece with all around. Peter is a very popular man in Queensland!

Whilst there have been many incremental improvements to the basic design over the years, it is testimony to the durability and longevity of these wonderful instruments that after a decade of use, SDM#001 still looks like new.

And looking back over ten years we know that the largest SDM scope to see the stars is currently 32″, the smallest is 16 times smaller at 8″ and that the average SDM Telescope is a little over 19″.

IMG_4619 [1280x768]We have also calculated that if we took all the mirrors and made them into one humungous optic, it would have almost exactly the same surface area as the Anglo Australian Telescope at Siding Spring!


Now that’s a lot of aperture…