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The Airline Transportable JOURNEY-AIR


The more robust JOURNEY-HD

The TT/Journey "travel telescope", or "travelscope" for short, is a Dobsonian designed to be lighter weight than our other offerings, more compact, and more portable. The Journey is designed for transport both in your vehicle and when traveling around the world on your next flight to somewhere dark and exotic.


At Teeter's Telescopes, we've never been afraid of attempting new things such as using new components in our telescopes or trying slightly different build/finishing techniques and products.  At first glance, a 12.5" or 16" Dobsonian may not appear that difficult to design and fabricate, and when thinking of a traditional Dobsonian it is a straightforward task. But a 12.5" Dobsonian designed to be as light as possible, as rigid as possible, and pack away as checkable luggage and offer features of a traditional Dobsonian is a complex task. After several years of development, the Journey is ready to go with you where your journeys take you.


The total weight of 48 pounds for the full telescope (21 pounds for the heaviest single component) won't break your back, and is among the lowest "Pounds per Inch of Aperture" ratio of any commerically available telescope;


12.5" aperture provides stunning details on the Moon, Jupiter, Saturn and Mars (during opposition) to fascinate any observer, while the standard F/4.5 focal ratio and 2.60" secondary mirror (20.8% central obstruction) allows for enhanced planetary views;


12.5" aperture bridges the gap between 10", which some find to be not large enough, and 14.5" which some find too large and cumbersome, while the F/4.5 focal ratio allows for breath-taking richfield views of the Milky Way and large deep space objects;


Built-in primary mirror cooling fan facilitates quick cool down with no vibrations or air turbulence affecting the views at the eyepiece. Run the fan all night long to keep your primary mirror tracking the falling ambient temperature, ensuring the best views possible;


Virtual counterweight system using spring tension allows the Journey to be built lighter in weight yet still balance with most modestly sized 1.25" diameter eyepieces, while larger eyepieces can be used with solid counterweights;


Three different transport/storage case options available to mesh with how you intend to utilize the Journey whether by transportation in your personal vehicle or as checked luggage on your next flight;


Master opticians John Lightholder (Lightholder Optics), Carl Zambuto (Zambuto Optical Company) and Antares Optics provide finely crafted primary and secondary mirrors, respectively. Magnifications of 40x-50x per inch of aperture are achievable on nights of steady atmospheric seeing conditions. 


All Journey "travelscopes" are tested a minimum of two (2) nights under average or better seeing conditions to assess the optical trane, mechanics and lack of collimation shift.

Why Buy a Journey?

How to Assemble your Journey-AIR in the Field

Journey-AIR & Journey-HD Standard Components

            Focuser             |           Spider            |           Mirror Cell           |       Counterweight       |    Truss Connectors


   Feathertouch          |      3-Vane Curved     |       6-pt. Flotation      |     Spring Tension     |  Aurora Precision

  • Feathertouch (Lightweight version) dual speed Crayford focuser to reduce top-end weight;

  • 3-vane curved spider reduces bright diffraction spikes on stars and planets and is lightweight yet rigid for stable collimation;

  • Aurora Precision 6-point flotation primary mirror cell constructed from machined and anodized aluminum with built-in cooling fan;

    • Journey-AIR utilizes silicone adhesive attachment of mirror to mirror cell in order to allow usage of a lower weight Aurora Precision mirror cell;

    • Journey-HD does not utilize silicone attachment. Primary mirror is supported by a solid lower edge system, a heavier weight mirror cell.

  • Virtual counterweight system utilizing spring tension to reduce back-end weight of telescope yet still allow balance with modest 1.25" eyepieces (12.5" Journey-AIR not HD);

  • Truss poles with Aurora Precision upper truss connectors and Moonlite ball/socket lower truss connectors;

  • Wood finish includes sealer coat and several coats of our high gloss Polyurethane/Varnish blend for superior weatherability;

  • Virgin Teflon with FRP (Fiberglass Reinforced Panel) on Azimuth bearing axis, and Virgin Teflon with WilsonArt laminate on Altitude bearing axis;

  • Custom-fitted Light Shroud from "Shrouds by Heather" with reinforced cutouts for focuser and finderscope to protrude through;

  • Semi-rigid Light-shield faced with black velvet flocking to use across from focuser to reduce extraneous light from entering optical pathway;

  • Lightweight Rigel QuickFinder reflex finder as standard equipment;

  • Secondary mirrors from Antares Optics allowing the primary mirror to operate at its full potential;


2021 Design Specifications & Pricing

12.5" F/4.5 Journey-Air

A Discussion About Flying with your Telescope as it Relates to Airline Size/Weight Restrictions

If your plans include observing the night sky in exotic locations like New Zealand, Hawaii, the Canary Islands, Chile and other places requiring airline travel, this is THE Journey scope for you. When packed in our "World Traveler" case combo detailed below, you'll be below most major airlines overweight (50 pounds) and oversize (62 inches of length + width + height) checked luggage restrictions for our large hard case (AKA "Rough & Ready" case) inside of which most of the telescope gets packed.


The primary mirror and mirror cell are then packed in the smaller hard case which you then carry-on (or more specifically "wheel aboard" with its pull out handle and skate wheels) and stow in an overhead compartment. The small hard case is within most major airlines size restrictions (9" x 15.5" x 22") and most airlines do not have a weight limit for carry on baggage. We find this method of breaking the telescope up into two cases ("Rough & Ready" large hard case and the smaller carry-on hard case) to be best to ensure the large case weighs less than 50 pounds when fully packed. To do so requires removing the primary mirror and mirror cell which then get packed into the carry-on case. Plus, that way, the most delicate (and valuable!) parts of the telescope are always in your posession.


DISCLAIMER: Please check with the carrier(s) you anticipate flying with to ensure the limits discussed above are still valid and accurate. We make no specific guarantees the Journey-AIR telescope and its associated cases won't be subject to overweight and/or oversize fees, we just do our best to lay out the current (2021) general airline restrictions and allow you to make an informed decision about your travel plans. 

Journey-AIR vs. Journey-HD

Airline Transportability Around the World vs. A More Robust Structure for Domestic/Local Observing

Originally conceptualized as a modest aperture telescope to be taken via airplane has now grown into a telescope many amateur astronomers want as a lighter weight alternative to the traditional Truss-Dobsonian. However, the Journey-AIR's design had compromises made in order to get it under both size and weight restrictions from the major airlines. These include using thinner plywood, a virtual counterbalance system (via springs) and a single-ring upper tube assembly (UTA).


Those design choices allow for a lightweight telescope to be built and used effectively in the field at worldly locations not otherwise accessible to moderate aperture. But they also make the Journey-AIR susceptible to vibration and wobble if not set up on a hard-packed flat surface (asphalt, concrete, dirt). Setting up on grass causes what some observers have categorized as an unfavorable amount of "jump" in the views at the eyepiece. That's due mostly because the Journey-AIR is built so lightly that it doesn't effectively compress the grass underneath of it and does not absorb and dampen vibration like a heavier telescope does. Further, because the telescope is so light (most notably in the bottom end), balance in the altitude axis can be very touchy. The Journey-AIR is designed for use with 1.25" eyepieces and lightweight 2" eyepieces. These include, for example, the 1.25" Tele Vue Nagler Type 5 and Type 6, the Tele Vue DeLites and the Tele Vue 24mm Panoptic. Using eyepieces like the Tele Vue Ethos and the larger Naglers require greater amounts of counterweight to be swapped on and off the telescope and to be taken with you (and not forgotten at home!) on your trips. 

The Journey-HD telescopes (12.5" F/4.5 and 16" F/3.8 & F/4, currently) are designed to alleviate those issues because they are NOT designed for airline transportability and thus do not have to comply with airline size and weight restrictions. However, we have taken design cues from the Journey-AIR and applied them to the Journey-HD to make a telescope that's lighter weight than a traditional Truss-Dobsonian, breaks into smaller more transportable pieces but gives up little in terms of steadiness at the eyepiece and ability to balance with a wide array of eyepieces.


As the name suggests, the Journey-AIR is for amateur astronomers who plan to visit locations around the world to which they otherwise wouldn't be able to bring a moderate aperture telescope. The Journey-HD is for amateur astronomers who do not have such aspirations but want a telescope built lighter weight than more traditional offerings, yet not quite as light as the Journey-AIR.


12.5" F/4.5

Focal Length: Approximately 56" (1422mm)


Secondary Mirror: Antares Optics 2.60" minor axis, Borosilicate, 1/20 P-V, 96% Enhanced Coating


Primary Mirror: 1.25" thickness, Supremax


Zenith Eyepiece Height: Approximately 52.5"


Total Telescope Weight: Approximately 48 pounds


  • Mirrorbox Weight w/ Mirror: Approx. 21 pounds

  • Rockerbox Weight: Approx. 11.5 pounds 

  • Upper Ring Weight: Approx. 5 pounds

  • Truss Poles Weight: Approx. 6 pounds

  • Alt. Bearing Pair Weight: Approx. 3 pounds



Packing the Optional Large Hard Case

For 12.5" Journey-AIR Telescopes Only, NOT HD

Airline Transportation Cases

This is our "World Traveler" set up for those who expect to take their Journey-AIR with them when they fly. For ease of carrying-on and checking this luggage (and to avoid overweight luggage fees), the entire Journey travelscope fits into three cases. This option includes a Large Hard Case (checked luggage), a soft nylon Truss Pole Carry Case (stores in your other carry-on or checked luggage), and also includes a second, smaller, full hard case (carry-on luggage) with custom cut high-density foam to house the more fragile components during your flights.


The Large Hard Case features a pull out telescoping handle and two (2) 100 pound test in-line wheels. The case is built from ABS plastic and reinforced using aluminum and stainless steel bracing. Mounted to the outside of the case are two spring-loaded, padded, handles for ease of lifting case, two heavy duty latching locks and a heavy duty single continuous hinge for the lid. This case is robust without being overly heavy. The interior of the case includes custom cut high-density charcoal colored foam to cradle the telescope structure and accessories.

The Small Hard Case is built to the same robust standards, including the telescoping handle, wheels and ABS/aluminum/steel construction. 

Specifications for each case is as follows:​​

Large Hard Case dimensions:

  • 12.5" Journey-AIR: 48 pounds (full);

    • 23"W x 23"H x 18"D​

Small Hard Case dimensions:

  • 12.5" Journey-AIR: 29 pounds (full);

    • 17"W x 15"H x 19"D​



16" F/4 Journey-HD broken down into its various components. Upper Assembly (far left) can be nested within Rockerbox for transportation.

12.5" F/4.5


Focal Length: Approximately 56" (1422mm)


Secondary Mirror: Antares Optics 2.60" minor axis, Borosilicate, 1/20 P-V, 96% Enhanced Coating


Primary Mirror: 1.25" thickness, Supremax


Zenith Eyepiece Height: Approximately 52.5"

Stacked/Packed Dimensions: 21" Tall x 20" x 20"


Total Telescope Weight: 68.5 pounds

Heaviest Component to Lift: 39 pounds


  • Mirrorbox Weight w/ Mirror: 39 pounds (of which mirror weighs 11.5 pounds and removable altitude bearings pair weigh 5.5 pounds)

  • Rockerbox & Groundboard Weight: 19 pounds

  • Upper Assembly Weight: 6.5 pounds

  • Truss Poles Weight: 4 pounds


16" F/4.0


Focal Length: Approximately 64" (1422mm)


Secondary Mirror: Antares Optics 3.50" minor axis, Borosilicate, 1/20 P-V, 96% Enhanced Coating


Primary Mirror: 1.50" thickness, Supremax


Zenith Eyepiece Height: Approximately 61"

Stacked/Packed Dimensions: 24" Tall x 23" x 23"


Total Telescope Weight: 97.5 pounds

Heaviest Component to Lift: 57 pounds


  • Mirrorbox Weight w/ Mirror: 57 pounds (of which mirror weighs 22 pounds and removable altitude bearings pair weigh 7 pounds)

  • Rockerbox & Groundboard Weight: 27 pounds

  • Upper Assembly Weight: 8.5 pounds

  • Truss Poles Weight: 5 pounds

Please note - pictures above of telescopes may include optional equipment available only as an upgrade.  Please see the Featured Standard Components table above listing the major components and features included for the base prices listed above. Prices subject to change without notice.

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