Thinking About a New Scope? Think Big!
From the Obsessed
18" UC Owners
Alex P., 18" UC owner in Boston, Massachusetts
December 13, 2013
Just a quick note to let you know I received the telescope yesterday from UPS. Spent the morning today unpacking and assembling. I have to say, I am very impressed with the fit and finish. When I was trying to decide what kind of telescope I wanted, every discussion of Dobsonians I read said something to the effect of "yeah, the quality of Brand X is fine, but of course, it's not an Obsession..." Now I understand. It's a beautiful machine, and clearly displays the time and thought you have put into figuring out how to build these things. I was also really pleased with how easy the collimation was with the laser barlow tool - maybe took me 20 minutes total, including checking the focuser (which came from you perfectly aligned, at least to the limits of my measuring ability). The moon sets here at 3:00 AM tomorrow, and you can bet I'm gonna be out there giving this thing a try, 5 degrees F or not.
Have a great one,
Gabriele, 18" UC owner in Pasadena, California - December 10, 2013
I finally had the time and the good weather to try out the telescope. Well, it’s an amazing instrument, by far the best one I've used so far. And it’s not the first scope with a diameter larger than 40cm that I've used!
The first object I looked at was the Veil nebula, without any filter. It was astonishing how many details there were. And adding an O3 filter made the view simply spectacular. I could go on for pages describing all the other objects, from the Stephan’s quintet to the Helix nebula.
Thanks for the instrument. It is as amazing.
California Institute of Technology
100-36 LIGO Laboratory
Ray McDougall, 18" UC owner in Toronto, Canada September 10, 2013
Just wanted to drop you a note to say thank you so much for this beautiful instrument. It is life-changing - really, these are the views of which I've dreamed since I was the happy kid with the new 3" Edmund Scientific reflector for Christmas in the 70s. The Veil is beyond words, and M15 with its blazing centre blew me right away. Amazing to be able to discern the star colours in the globulars like this. Love the Wild Duck - each star a bright glistening gem. The Crescent is just as in the photographs. I won't go on about them all, but each new object is an adventure. How am I ever going to wait for the changing seasons to bring me all the rest? I could ask for no better than this.
Thank you so much - this scope is a dream come true.
Randy Schatzman, 18" UC owner in Redmond, Washington
August 17, 2013
I wanted to circle back following our recent experience with the 18" f/4.2 UC. We took the instrument to the Oregon Star Party last week. In short, we were hugely impressed with its performance. We had several evenings with both great transparency and stability and quite easily split Epsilon Lyra into 2 pairs among a number of doubles we observed.
Great job with the telescope, the details are amazing. I can't say enough about how thrilled we are.
All the best,
Jon Stewart-Taylor, 18" UC owner in Burgaw, North Carolina - August 17, 2013
Hi Dave K.
M11 in particular was amazing. I'd never realized it is almost rectangular: it looked kinda like a street map with so many bright stars arranged almost in a grid. The spring and summer globulars looked very nice, as did the Ring and Dumbbell nebulae. The Veil was easy to find, and I could trace the filaments for several eyepiece FOV in either direction.
I wouldn't have been able to store or transport a scope this diameter without it being the ultra-compact model. I'm really looking forward to what it will do under clear, transparent skies.
Doug Murphy, 18" UC owner in Leesburg, Virginia - March 18, 2013
We haven't talked in a while and I am hoping all is well with you. I am still loving my 18UC and continue to do video with it. Honestly, it's like having HST right in the back yard. I can tell you that over the past year or so I have been having great luck getting objects in the 15 arc min field of the Mallincam on every go-to with your scope. The RMS pointing error is down to 3-4 arc min using the TPAS on ArgoNavis and takes just 5 min to do. It's really fun.
Jeffrey Kaszczuk, 18" UC owner in Lavon, Texas
February 27, 2012
Brief "first light" in my back yard last week, M42 and Jupiter. Then, we took the scope to our dark sky spot in the Caddo National Grassland in northeast Texas. Brought along a buddy with his 12" Skywatcher. His Skywatcher sat alone and unused all night. I couldn't peel him away from my scope HAHAHAHA!!! The feathertouch focuser is awesome. The entire scope is awesome. Once the crescent moon, Jupiter and Venus set, we started our galaxy hunting. Best one of the night was M51. I AM VERY, VERY, VERY SATISFIED WITH THIS TELESCOPE. Thanks Dave!! My friends may be contacting you about making one for them!! Some pics attached.
update: August 21, 2012
Just got back from a RAINY Ft. Davis. Clouds broke Saturday night so we set up in the dark. The TRIFID NEBULA was AWESOME!! Think I may have seen a tinge of colors. The scope handled the travel very nicely. No problems with it whatsoever! Set up and collimated in the dark (QUICKLY!!) using headlamp only. Travel buddy brought along his 12" SCT and Plossles. Looked through several of these over the years, still un-impressed.
John Kutney, 18" UC owner in Las Cruces, New Mexico - February 24, 2012
Dave, As mentioned several months ago, I planned to send you an astro-photo when I configured my altered UC 18" Obsession for astrophotography.
You may recall that I ordered separate truss poles (2 inches shorter) to obtain back-focus for my Canon DSLR. I also fine tuned my ServoCat with the AutoCal feature to get the best gear ratios. Main issue I have is the wind catching the shroud over the truss poles causing some jitter. If I take the scope to the desert I can eliminate the shroud and push the exposure to over a minute. Attached is a photo of M42 with the UC 18" at 30 seconds and ISO 3200.
Gunter Wiese, 18" UC owner in Switzerland - Sept. 2, 2011
Hi Dave, Last weekend we finally had good seeing to go out with our new Obsession 18" UC. The viewing was just great, a lot of guys were surprised of all the nebulas and galaxies we could see.
We are very pleased with the good service and the perfect shipping. Assembling and collimating is easy, and the Argo Navis works perfectly. It's just great to go out with this telescope.
Thanks a lot.
From Switzerland, best regards
Joel Kilpatrick, 18" UC owner in Riverside, California - May 30, 2011
Hi, Dave. I've taken the scope out a few times, and I'm very pleased. I've been observing for fifteen years with small telescopes. Last week, for the first time in my life, I clearly saw the spirals in the Whirlpool Galaxy and M101. Both galaxies looked just like their photographs--but to me these images were worth so much more than photographs, because I was seeing the actual galaxies with my own eye. Another first for me: seeing the "Pillars of Creation" in the Eagle Nebula. That was a personal milestone. Swan Nebula looks better than a photograph, since no long exposure can completely capture the delicate and intricate interplay between its many wisps of nebulosity. Lagoon and Trifid are breathtaking, sublime. Black Eye Galaxy totally resembles its photograph: I could feel it looking back at me with that heavy, cyclopean oculus. M13 is shockingly large and bright: I'm afraid to get any closer to that monstrous arachnid of stars. Veil Nebula is like delicate sinews of muscle stretched across the black sky. Yikes! Setup is easy. Collimation is easy. The scope makes perfection almost too easy. You've put together a telescope that has changed my view of the world permanently. Thank you so much!~Joel Kilpatrick
Johan Moolman, 18" UC owner in South Africa - May 5, 2011
Yip - the 18 " UC Obsession performed truly exceptionally! Views of the galaxies (Hamburger, Sombrero, Southern Pinwheel, Leo triplets, Markarian face, antennae, Siamese twins etc. etc, etc...!), clusters, nebulae, planetaries etc. were truly fantastic!! Thank you!
National starparty - Kambro padstal, Karoo, South Africa
Cliff L, 18" UC owner in Winnipeg, Manitoba - April 4, 2011
The scope is great. It's easy to set up and fun to use. I took it out to our club observatory a few nights ago. The pundits were impressed.
I bought mine based on the recommendation of one of our club members who has a 20" Obsession - who knows? Maybe you'll have more requests from our members.
Marc-André Paradis, 18" UC owner
in Saint-Louis du Ha! Ha!, Quebec - November 2, 2010
Hi Dave, It’s Christmas! The telescope has arrived and is assembled. I took my sweet time and savored every minute of the whole process. I have collimated the optics and tried it on landmarks around the observatory and must say that I can’t wait for the sky to clear up. This telescope is out of this world in many aspects. Yes it’s big, yes it’s compact and easy to assemble but what is even more impressive, is the quality of your craftsmanship my friend.
The scope is going to Quebec for a congress of science teachers and comes back next week for our press conference to launch our new astronomy school workshop. Again, I’m most impressed with the quality of this instrument.
Best regards, Marc-André Paradis
Trevor C., 18" UC owner in Guelph, Canada - September 4, 2010
I know that you must have been told this before but allow me to reiterate - it is an absolutely brilliant bit of craftsmanship that no doubt will be a joy to use. The last time I felt this way was in the predawn hours of December 25 when I was 7 (I got a cool train set that year)!
Tony Buckley, 18" UC owner in Sydney Australia - August 30, 2010
I have just completed 10,000 miles driving around the Australian outback with an 18 inch UC aboard a Toyota 4WD, and observed from as far north - for me, as latitude 12 degrees south.
The UC was the ideal scope to take on rough dirt roads, sometimes 600 miles between towns, being the most compact and travel friendly big dobsonian and in fact the actual one that Dave Kriege used here himself a few years ago.
Gerrit H., 18" UC owner in Osnabrueck, Germany - October 17, 2009
Four weeks ago I was in the Alps at 2500 meters height above sea level. There I had my best views on Cirrus (a dream with the 17 mm Ethos), Stephan's Quintet, Cat's Eye nebula and Jupiter.
Gene T., 18" UC owner in San Antonio, Texas - October 1, 2009
When I finished assembling my new 18" UC, I just let it stay assembled in the living room for two days. I was enthralled with the engineering and how well thought out this telescope is. I finally took it all down. It is stored on my side of the closet. It takes up less room than my 12.5 inch Porta Ball. And, the Porta Ball has a fairly small foot print.
I hope to join you at a star party sometime.
Alan M., 18" UC owner in El Cajon, California - July 24, 2009
This is a cool, stripped-down, 1/4 mile racing machine you have in the 18 UC. Oversized carbs (aperture), polished and ported (teflon bearings), hot exhaust system (2 inch focuser), lightweight but rigid frame, and no wasted weight anywhere. Slide in a Nagler of your choice for the best Earthside view "south" of the Hubble. A racing machine if I've ever seen one. And the focuser, my oh my, it's the smoothest throttle you could ever want, with Five to One Nitro on the left. You have outdone yourself by creating the all-black Stealth Bomber of the Dob world!!.
Doug Kent, 18"UC owner in Colorado Springs, Colorado - July 12, 2009
I absolutely love the 18UC you built for me! I took the back seat out of my Suzuki compact crossover and have tons of room left over for camping gear. I could not believe how much M51, M99 and Trifid looked like their photographic appearance.
Craig Anderson, 18" UC owner in Herndon, Virginia - June 23, 2009
Hi Dave, I experienced "first light" with my new 18 Obsession UC at the Rocky Mountain Star Stare in Colorado last week. The scope is a great performer and I was awestruck with the views. I have done some astrophotography and one of my favorite pictures was M13 through my AP155. When I looked at M13 through my new Obsession, it was better than the best picture I've taken of that object. Unbelievable. Spiral arms in galaxies, dust lanes in nebula, color on the Dumbbell and Trifid, a tour of planetaries in Cygnus, and a tour of globulars in Ophiuchus. Wow! The ARGO is also great and I was able to use it without even opening the user manual (which is good, because I forgot to bring it to the star party). Several folks came by for a look and there were a lot of "oohs" and "ahhs" from owners of even larger scopes. Thanks so much for a wonderful and innovative telescope.
Kevin L., 18" UC owner in North Liberty, Iowa - June 10, 2009
I can't tell you how much I love this scope -- it's really wonderful. Transporting it is a joy, and the OMI mirror is absolutely incredible. I've spent as much time as I can rediscovering my favorites and hunting down new ones.
John R., 18" UC owner in Richmond, Virginia - January 31, 2009
Easy to set up. No "eyestrain" to see my favorite deep sky wonders. Only minimal collimation needed when set up. Takes high magnification well. Good Optics, Fits in my small car.
Stacey G., 18" UC Owner in Wheeling, Illinois - August 24, 2008
Through the scope, Jupiter is amazing. We just kept going back again and again to look. It is better than any magazine picture and we had a full moon last night. PS, Love the scope, it is amazing.
Frank & Liz J., 18" UC owners in Bay City, Texas - July 18, 2008
I took my new scope to the Brazosport Astronomy Club Meeting and it was a big hit. They were excited, to see how easy it assembled, they could not keep the eyes off the size of the main mirror, and were taken away as the drive system moved the scope. The club members loved the detail put into the planning and building of this scope. It was a lot of fun, I can't wait to bringing it to one of our club viewing nights. Clear Skies
Ron R., 18" UC owner in Austin Texas - June 27, 2008
We had a total blast at TSP '08 and I seemed to be quite the celebrity with my 18" UC. It's definitely the scope that has quite a buzz going on right now. Lots of folks dropped by and wanted to feel the smoothness of the motion and check out the views. All were blown away by the scope. Some were also fascinated and impressed your minimalist design with the smaller number of trusses and only three spider vanes. I've ordered the servo cat from Gary Myers and should get it sometime in July. This sure is an awesome scope and I've been enjoying it as often as I can. David Nagler was there and I picked up an Ethos 13mm and a Nagler 31mm Type 5 and what a combination that makes with the already wide field that an F4.2 has! I'm a wide field junky and this is wide field heaven! Thanks again!
Ron R., Austin Texas
Frank J., 18" UC owner in Bay City, Texas - June 6, 2008
I took the 18" UC to Austin, TX and had an incredible time. The Austin Astronomical Society allowed me use of their site. The views were spectacular and I loved the way the scope setup. Good viewing.
Ron R., 18" UC owner in Austin, Texas - May 22, 2008
Hi Dave!, I wanted to say thanks for such a great job on my Ultra Compact 18", it's an awesome scope, and an absolute pleasure to use!
Doug Murphy, 18" UC owner in Leesburg, Virginia - April 15, 2008
Dave, Gary, Gary, James, Al, Jim,
Finally got everything together and the scope is working beautifully. I am giving the scope TLC and keeping that beautiful 18" f/4.2 mirror and my eyepieces locked up in a vault.
Everything about the system is first class. I got to appreciate the quality and stability of the Obsession-AN-SC integrated scope for the first time last night. Unbelievable!!! Aligned on Sirius and Aldebaran and did a GO-TO to Rigel that was it. Every one of 20 objects distributed all over the sky was in the eyepiece each time. Saturn tracked dead center in the eyepiece for over 15 min, the longest I took it. This was my first experience with Obsession movements, servo motorization, and digital navigation and the whole experience was fantastic. And all from Leesburg with our bright Washington, DC skies. AN is proving quick to learn and use, and the 2 star alignment method is lean and elegant. The encoders are working fine with no slippage. All parts of this system from Obsession, Wildcard, StellarCAT, OMI, Televue and Catseye work together seamlessly.
The scope's axes are built precisely square. The views are stable with no shaking or vibration. 18" UC is very stable, with minimal torsion or hysteresis and no sticky behavior in the bearings. Lovin' that! The OMI mirror is close to perfection and I am eager to do a star test in stable air. Love the wide-field views with Televue eyepieces. AN is an absolute pleasure, and the servo motorization is truly fantastic. The movements to objects are all so precise, the accelerations and decelerations are smooth, the tracking is superb. And all these mechanisms working together -- it just all works!
Thanks for helping me get up and going. Now to celebrate, first with family, then with friends. I hope I don't lose track of you guys. Clear skies,
Doug Murphy, Leesburg, Virginia
Obsession 18" UC #10
Stacey Greenhill, 18" UC owner in Wheeling, Illinois - April 15, 2008
First light, amazing!!!! Definitely worth the wait, and that was at the end of my driveway under a streetlight.
Chris K., 18" UC owner in Sunnyvale, California - March 29, 2008
Dave, I have had two sessions using 18"UC #26. I wish I could describe just how much I appreciate this telescope you've made for me. It surpassed every expectation I had. Quick, easy set up & take down. Collimates well. Smooth motion. Views that took my breath away (even with poor seeing). My Obsession has unlocked the heavens and night will never be the same.
Clear skies, Chris K.
Doug M., 18” UC owner in Leesburg, Virginia - March 20, 2008
Dave, The 18UC arrived safely yesterday. I read through your setup instructions and watched your DVD for putting the scope together. It looks very handsome and lean. There is no way I could have created a scope like this on my own. Every feature reflects thought and experiment and your many years of experience with working with your hands (with machines as well as teeth). I really look forward to using the new scope.
Bernard Chevalier, 18" UC owner in Chaponost, France - March 18, 2008
First light a week ago of the 18" UC N° 14 and I am fully satisfied with it. Mechanics are wonderful, smooth as well as precise, whether conditions did allow a full check of optics but seems great anyway.
Jim Walsh, 18" UC owner in Mansfield, Texas - October 19, 2007
Hi Dave, I'm writing this to you from my campsite at Okie-Tex, where I took delivery of 18" Obsession UC #1 this week. You've done it again! I think you've just opened up a whole new chapter in amateur astronomy -premium ultra-portable dobs!
The design of the scope is ingenious and just full of cool little ideas that are executed flawlessly. And of course, optically, it is a stunner! I was the most popular guy at Okie-Tex once word got out that I had the new UC set up. Add in the Ethos eyepiece and observing just doesn't get any better than that!
You're a true artist and visionary. Seriously.
Thanks again, Jim Walsh