Since the USSR launched Sputnik in 1957, humanity has relied on earth-orbiting satellites to play an ever-increasing role in global communications. Today, thousands of satellites and hundreds of thousands of pieces of “space junk” orbit our planet. Just one stray piece of space junk could damage crucial satellites and disrupt communications on a worldwide scale. The field of Space Situational Awareness (SSA) is devoted to monitoring the space environment and protecting our satellites from debris by detecting and mapping space junk in orbit. In no small way, SSA makes our globally connected way of life possible.
In 2015, SSA professionals discovered that Celestron’s Rowe-Ackermann Schmidt Astrograph is an ideal instrument for SSA applications. Its fast focal ratio and wide field of view allow it to detect even small pieces of space junk traveling at extraordinarily high rates of speed. Currently, there are dozens of RASA telescopes in use around the world every night scanning the skies to protect our satellites at a fraction of the cost of other systems.
Celestron’s team approached SSA experts to collaborate on an even better telescope to meet this important need. The result is RASA 36. Assembled at our Torrance, CA, headquarters from start to finish, this ultra-precise optical instrument can detect individual pieces of debris measuring less than 1 meter.
Our in-house team of optical experts has worked round-the-clock for months to produce RASA 36 telescopes to meet overwhelming demand from SSA organizations. Now, we’re prepared to make this incredible telescope available for another application: advanced astroimaging.
About RASA 36
- A breakthrough 36 cm aperture, f/2.2 optical system designed for professional applications that require both a wide field of view and resolution.
- 4-element lens group utilizes extra-low dispersion (ED) glass for images free of false color, coma, and field curvature.
- 60 mm optimized image circle maintains pinpoint stars to the far corners of the largest available sensors.
- Extended spectral range takes advantage of sensor response in the 700-900 nm range, allowing a brighter overall signal to be detected.
- Redesigned focusing system minimizes focus shifting or other unwanted motion of the primary mirror, enabling easy and stable focus.
- Celestron’s proprietary XLT coatings, consisting of high-transmission multi-coatings for lenses and high reflectivity aluminum coatings, ensure good light throughput for the optical system
- Integrated cooling fan helps optics cool down to ambient temperature and pulls air through vents with micromesh to prevent dust ingress
- Dual dovetail bars offer flexibility to mount the optical tube and conveniently attach additional accessories. Accomodates “CGE/Losmandy” style dovetails.
- Two sets of 2x threaded insert holes in the rear cell provide additional mounting options
- Move and mount your optical tube with ease with carrying handles on the rear cell
- Although not normally needed, there are 3x sets of push-pull screws to adjust the lens group to achieve optical alignment for the entire system
- Includes M48 camera adapter
- Motor system specifically designed for the RASA 36 cm focuser is manufactured by Starlight Instruments.
The Rowe-Ackermann Schmidt Astrograph (RASA), is a cost-effective optical system for space surveillance, Space Situational Awareness (SSA), other scientific applications, and advanced wide field astroimaging. It offers unprecedented value in aperture, speed, field of view, and optical performance. The RASA design has a convenient external prime-focus image capture location with a flat focal plane, providing small spot sizes to the edge of a wide field. The result is images free of optical defects like field curvature, off-axis coma, and astigmatism.
The 36 cm aperture version is the largest RASA Celestron manufactures; it is the biggest and fastest (f/2.2) optical instrument of its kind available “off-the-shelf.” Unlike most telescopes, which only focus visible light (400-700 nm), the RASA 36 cm focuses an extended spectral range (400-900 nm), allowing a brighter signal to be detected by a camera sensor. The RASA 36 cm also features a redesigned focus system, which ensures easy and stable focusing.
RASA 36 cm’s ample back-focus distance (77.5 mm) accommodates a wide variety of imaging sensors. A custom camera adapter can be added for a field of view up to 4.4 degrees.
Important freight requirement – RASA 36 is a professional-caliber, high-precision instrument. It is manufactured and aligned to an exacting standard to provide exceptional optical performance. The telescope has been packaged to ensure it retains alignment and resulting performance during transport. However, due to the weight, size, and known stresses of shipping via parcel service, Celestron has determined that the ideal transport is a palletized delivery via LTL truck freight. For all domestic deliveries, Celestron will ship via this method. We also require this shipping method for all deliveries from Celestron dealers to end customers.