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PlaneWave CDK 24" Telescope Optical Tube Assembly

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SKU 1323224Q

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  • A 24"/0.61m f/6.5 visual and astrographic telescope
  • Uses PlaneWave's Corrected Dall-Kirkham (CDK) optical design
  • 70mm diameter imaging circle
  • No field curvature, off-axis coma, or astigmatism.
  • Carbon fibre truss-tube for low thermal expansion, rigidity and weight saving.
  • Two optical glass options available

PlaneWave's CDK24 is a 24 inch (0.508 m) aperture f/6.5 telescope that is very well suited for astro-imaging as well as for visual use.


PlaneWave CDK20 mounted atop a PlaneWave A200HR German Equatorial mount (not included) with a person for scale.

The CDK24 telescope utilises the Corrected Dall-Kirkham (CDK) optical design, developed by Dave Rowe, that provides excellent imaging possibilities 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-Chrétien design making the CDK an innovative solution for unsurpassed astro-imaging quality at an affordable price. 

The end result, at the image plane of the CDK24, will give you pinpoint stars from the center to the corner of its 70mm field of view without any field curvature, off-axis coma, or astigmatism. The no-compromise optical design is unique in making the optical alignment forgiving and collimation very easy which guarantees the user the best possible performance from the telescope. 

The CDK24 features a dual carbon-fibre truss design, with 7 cooling fans to help cooling of the primary mirror. The instrument weighs 109kg (240lbs) and comes as standard with a back plate retaining ring ready to accept the focuser of your choice. 

Telescope Features

The CDK24 telescope is an open truss tube design for a rigid, but lightweight structure. The truss tube utilises a carbon fibre frame which minimises thermal expansion that can cause focus shift with changes in temperature. The carbon fibre truss tube design also promotes quick thermal cooling.

CDK24 Carbon Fibre Truss Poles

The CDK's carbon fibre truss poles 

To create the telescope's baffles, Planewave uses digital 3D printing technology. Their 3D printers add successive layers of material to construct a baffle system with precision. These internal stray light baffles minimise vignetting and maximise image contrast.

CDK Carbon Fibre Primary Baffle

3D Printed Primary Baffle

To mount the CDK24 onto a mount, PlaneWave supplies the CDK with a dovetail bar. The CDK features a dovetail expansion joint that allows for the difference in thermal expansion between carbon fibre and aluminium. This expansion joint allows the aluminium dovetail expand and contract without stressing the carbon fibre lower truss.

CDK24 Expansion Joint

Dovetail expansion joint

For dew prevention, the CDK24 is internally wired with polyimide film heater pads and temperature sensor, ready to be controlled with the optional Delta-T controller.

Internal Primary Heater Pad

Internal heater pads for dew prevention

To help the primary mirror to cool, three cooling fans eject air from the back of the telescope and four fans blowing across the boundary layer of the mirror surface. This helps the telescope to reach thermal equilibrium quickly. The fans can be controlled by a computer if the optional Electronic Focus Accessory (EFA Kit) is purchased.

Rear Cooling Fans

The CDK24 three rear 24" cooling fans 
Optical Features

The Ritchey Chrétien (RC) optical design has long been "the standard" in high end imaging telescopes due to its use in many professional observatories. The RC is successful in eliminating many of the problems that plague many other optical designs, namely off-axis coma, however the RC design does nothing to eliminate the damaging effects of off-axis astigmatism and field curvature. The RC design is also very difficult, and therefore expensive, to manufacture and optically align. 

CDK Optical Design

Optical Design of the PlaneWave Corrected Dall-Kirkham (CDK)

The CDK design tackles the "off-axis coma problem" by integrating a pair of correcting lenses into a two mirror design. The beauty is that this design also corrects for astigmatism and field curvature. Because the lenses are relatively close to the focal plane (unlike the Schmidt corrector plate found in various Schmidt Cassegrain designs), and because these lenses work together as a doublet, there is no chromatic aberration. The CDK offers a wide aberration-free, flat field of view that allows the user to take full advantage of the very large imaging chip cameras in the market place today.

CDK Optical Performance

In the image above, are two simulations showing the CDK’s stunning optical performance (CDK20).The left column is a diffraction simulation and the second in the right column is a spot diagram. In both of the simulations the small squares are 9x9 microns, about the size of a typical CCD pixel. In the diffraction simulation the star images on axis and off-axis are nearly identical. In the spot diagram 21mm off-axis the spot size is an incredible 6 microns RMS diameter. For 26mm off-axis, a 52mm image circle, the RMS spot size is 11 microns. This means the stars across the entire focal plane are going to be pinpoints as small as atmospheric seeing will allow. The spot diagram was calculated at 720, 585, and 430nm (many companies show spot diagrams in only one wavelength, however to evaluate chromatic performance multiple wavelengths are required). Both of the simulations take into consideration a flat field, which is a more accurate representation of how the optics would perform on a flat CCD camera chip.

Having an aberration free telescope design means nothing if the optics cannot be aligned properly. Many Ritchey owners never get to take full advantage of their instrument’s performance because the Ritchey is very difficult to collimate. Aligning the hyperbolic secondary mirror’s optical axis to the optical axis of the primary mirror is critical in the Ritchey design, and the tolerances are unforgiving. The secondary mirror of the CDK design is spherical. It has no optical axis and so the centering tolerance of the CDK secondary mirror is comparatively huge. With the help of some very simple tools, the CDK user will be able to set the secondary spacing, collimate the optics and begin enjoying the full performance potential the instrument has to offer within a few minutes.

There are 2 options available for the type of optical glass used in the CDK24 telescope: Borosilicate and fused Silica (see below) plus a fused Silica optic-only option for fork mounts

Below are a few images (Flame Nebulae, top; Pinwheel Galaxy bottom) taken with a CDK24 to show how well they perform. 

Part of the Rosette Nebula

 Pinwheel Galaxy M33



Aperture 24 inch (610 mm)
Focal Length 3962 mm (155.98 inch)
Focal ratio F/6.5
Central Obstruction 47% of the Primary Mirror Diameter
Back Focus from Mounting Surface 14.1 inch (358 mm)
Back Focus from Racked in Focuser 5.81 inch (148 mm)
Weight 240 lbs (108.9 kg)
OTA Length 56 inch (1,422 mm)
Upper Cage Carbon Fiber Truss
Lower Cage Carbon Fiber Truss with Aluminum Light Shroud
OTA Width 31 inch (787 mm)
OTA Height 35 inch (889 mm)
Optimal Field of View 70 mm (58 arcminute)



Diameter 9.45 inch (240 mm)
Material Fused Silica
Shape Spherical
Coating Enhanced Aluminum - 96%



Optical Diameter 24 inch (610 mm)
Outer Diameter 24.5 inch (622 mm)
Shape Prolate Ellipsoid
Material Fused Silica
Coating Enhanced Aluminum - 96%



Diameter 135 mm (5.31 inch)
Number of lenses 2
Coating Broadband AR Coatings (less than .5% reflected from 400 to 700nm)



Crated Shipping Weight 500 lbs   (226.8 kg)
Crate Width 40 inch   (1,016 mm)
Crate Height 48 inch   (1,219 mm)
Crate Length 78 inch   (1,981 mm)



CDK24 Focus Spacer (240343) This 5.3" long spacer may be installed between the backplate and the focuser to take up some of the CDK24's extra backfocus and reduce the torque placed on the focuser mechanism. This spacer is sized such that the backfocus distance behind the focuser will match that of the CDK20.
Ronchi Spacer (200354) This spacer sits in place of a focuser and is used for setting the primary to secondary spacing. It has an 1-1/4 inner diameter and may be used with 1-1/4 oculars for collimation.
Ronchi Ocular This ocular is a Ronchi screen used for setting the primary to secondary spacing.
Primary Mirror Cover The Primary Mirror Cover protects the primary mirror.
Planewave thumb drive Includes instructions for Collimation and Spacing and software.
12VDC Power Supply Provides power for the fans (Not included for European Orders)
Wrench Set (5812A35) English Hex Wrenches (European Orders Only)

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