If you’ve got a Dob, you’ve likely done it – resorted to zip bags of lead fishing sinkers or ankle weights duct-taped to your OTA. Well, you can stop with the ugly tape residue. There’s now a practical, versatile counterweight solution for fine balance of your Dobsonian.
Steel-tube Dobs are beloved for their practical, efficient form and function, but their optical tubes can quickly become front-heavy when using large eyepieces or a solar filter, or when switching to a larger, heavier finder scope. A counterweight is needed on the bottom end of the telescope to maintain proper balance, so that the front end won’t drift downward while you’re observing.
Orion’s Magnetic Dobsonian Counterweight ($24.99US) makes balancing steel-tube Dobsonians This 17-ounce (482-gram) Orion-designed counterweight consists of a ceramic block magnet encased in a steel housing with a beefy handle for easy grabbing, even with gloves. The magnet boasts a strong 50-pound pull strength, so it will stay put wherever you place it on the telescope’s optical tube to achieve that perfect balance.
Place it near the bottom of the tube for more counterbalancing effect, or closer to the altitude hubs for a more modest effect. And if one Magnetic Dobsonian Counterweight is not quite enough weight for optimal balance, just add another.
The bottom surface of the Magnetic Dobsonian Counterweight is covered with black felt to prevent scratching of your Dobsonian telescope’s pristine finish and includes two foam rubber stabilizing strips on the outer edges to provide a firm, non-slip grip and prevent the magnet from rocking on the curved optical tube. It has a durable black powder-coat finish.
The Magnetic Dobsonian Counterweight even comes in handy balancing other types of steel-tube telescopes, such as equatorially mounted Newtonian astrographs, when more weight may be needed on the front end of the tube for proper balancing on the declination axis.