Skip to main content

RC1000 (f/12.2) Ritchey-Chrétien Observatory System

SKU# 1000128

Price: $700,000.00


*Price is based on PlaneWave’s Pricing Policy

The RC1000 is designed to meet the high standards of rigorous academic, commercial, and defense applications.

  • 1-meter f/12  Ritchey-Chrétien optical design.
  • Dual Nasmyth focus ports, paired with a PlaneWave Interface 4 (PWI4) software controllable tertiary mirror for fast changes between multiple instrumentation packages.
  • Direct-drive motors on each axis providing up to 50 degrees/second of smooth, fast, and virtually silent slewing of the telescope with zero backlash and zero periodic error.
  • On-axis 26-bit absolute encoders coupled to each axis for precise pointing and stable LEO satellite tracking.
  • Optional GPS/PTP encoder synchronization for precise time-stamping.
  • Secondary mirror focusing for increased instrumentation backfocus distance.
  • Space-frame design with optional Coudé Path.
  • PointXP mount modeling software.


  • Compact Alt/Az design with dual Nasmyth ports allowing multiple instrumentation payloads to be installed on the telescope.
  • Integrated direct drive field de-rotator / rotational field framing.
  • Integrated direct drive mount with absolute encoders, zero periodic error, zero backlash, and minimal maintenance due to the lack of gears.
  • Slew speeds up to 50 degrees/sec for satellite tracking and fast target acquisition.


Light-Weighted Fused Silica Optics


Fused Silica has a coefficient of thermal expansion six times lower than Borosilicate (Pyrex) glass, which means that as it cools down, fused silica preserves its shape to a high degree of accuracy. This translates into consistent optical performance and unchanging focus over temperature changes.

Dual Nasmyth Focus Ports


The Nasmyth focus is along the altitude axis so the telescope does not need to be re-balanced when changing equipment.  Eyepieces remain at a constant height, greatly simplifying access to the telescope for public observatories. The computer-controlled M3 mirror allows either Nasmyth port to be selected in just a few seconds, allowing observers to easily transition between imaging and visual use, or other instrumentation.

Rotating Tertiary Mirror


The RC1000 includes an integrated rotator for the tertiary mirror, with magnetic locks to position the mirror precisely at either Nasmyth focus position. The rotator can move from one port to the other in under 10 seconds. Tertiary Mirror Video

Direct drive motors and encoders


Direct Drive motors and absolute on-axis encoders eliminate the need for reduction gears, thereby eliminating backlash and periodic error. With high-resolution encoders providing the feedback for the direct drive motors, not only will the telescope track without periodic error and backlash, the mount will also counter wind gusts with precise servo feedback. The direct drive motors can move the telescope at incredible speeds for tracking satellites or just to minimize target acquisition time.

Automated Primary Shutter


Protects the primary mirror from unwanted dust and moisture with this integrated four-shutter automated system, fully controllable with PlaneWave's PWI software.



Optical System

Optical Design  Ritchey-Chrétien 
Aperture  1000 mm (39.37inch) 
Focal Length  12200mm 
Focal ratio  f/12.2 
Central Obstruction  27% of the Primary Mirror Diameter 
Back Focus  578 mm (22.75 inches) from Mounting Surface of de-rotator

648 mm (25.51 inches) from instrument mounting surface 

Weight   2600 lbs 
Optical Tube  Dual truss structure with Nasmyth focus ports 
Dimensions  138″ H x 72″ W x 50″ D  
Optimal Field of View   64 mm (0.3 degrees) 
Focus Position  Dual Nasmyth Focus Ports 
Image Scale  59 microns per arcsecond 

Mechanical Structure

Fork Assembly  Space frame steel truss 
Fork Base  Welded stainless steel torsion box 
Azimuth Bearing  Dual 11.125 inch tapered roller bearings 
Altitude Bearing  Three 9.5 inch 4 way loaded ball bearings (two pre-loaded on motor side and one on non motor side) 
Optical Tube  Dual truss structure with Nasmyth focus 
Instrument Payload  300 lbs (150 ft-lbs) – mounted on the field de-rotator plate 

Motion Control

Motor Control  Industrial grade Elmo brushless motor control system and built-in electronics 
Motor – Azimuth and Altitude  Direct Drive 3-Phase Axial-Flux Torque Motor 
Encoder – Azimuth and Altitude  Absolute encoder with a resolution of 0.005 arcseconds (268 million counts per revolution) 
Motor Torque  Greater than 200 ft-lbs of peak torque 
Drive Electronics  Controls the altitude and azimuth motors and encoders, 2 direct drive de-rotators with absolute encoders, 4 fans zones, 3 dew heater zones, two focusers, an array of temperature sensors, M3 port selector, primary mirror covers and magnetic axis deceleration 
Telescope Control Software  PlaneWave Interface 4 (PWI4) Software. Incorporates PointXP mount modeling software and All Sky PlateSolve, both by Dave Rowe. Also includes automatic focusing, dew heater control, primary mirror cover control, and dome control and provides HTTP and ASCOM control interfaces. Linux and Windows compatible. MaxIm DL is required for camera control when building a pointing model within our PWI4 software. 

System Performance

Pointing Accuracy  Better than 10 arcsecond RMS with PointXP Model 
Pointing Precision  2 arcseconds at sidereal velocity 
Tracking Accuracy  < 1 arcsecond over a 10-minute period at sidereal velocity 
System Natural Frequency  10 Hz or greater 
Field De-Rotator Accuracy  < 3 microns of peak-to-peak error at 35mm off-axis over 1 hour of tracking (18 arc sec) 


Primary Mirror

Radius of Curvature  5000 mm (196.85 inches) 
Optical Diameter  1000 mm (39.4 inch) 
Outer Diameter  1020 mm (40.157inch) 
Core Diameter  219.9 mm (8.66 inches) 
Material  Fused Silica 
Primary Thickness  85 mm (3.3 inches) 
Primary Weight  149 lbs. (47% light weighted) 
Cell  18-point 

Secondary Mirror

Radius of curvature  1509 mm (59.4 inches) 
Optical Diameter  260 mm (10.24 inches) 
Material  Fused Silica 
Secondary Weight  11.1 lbs (5 lbs with optional light weighting) 

Tertiary Mirror

Optical Major Diameter  233.4 mm (9.2 inches) 
Optical Minor Diameter  165.1 mm (6.5 inches) 
Material  Fused Silica 
M3 Thickness  32 mm (1.25inches) 

Recommended Accessories