Kulali (pronounced 'Coo-la-lee') - an Australian Aboriginal word meaning 'Sky' - fulfils the long held dream of Alex Massey for a very small package that delivers aperture, rubustness an action that is silky smooth, and a balanced unit.
Small apertures of dobsonians present several challenges for the creation of a compact design that follows the principles of a true dobsonian. Firstly the lack of glass bulk means that the centre of gravity is proportionally higher than with much larger apertures. This brings a set of challenges for the design of the altitude bearings, and ultimately the way the unit is stowed with a minimal amount of assembly and maintaining rigidity of the structure.
Kulali answers these challenges in a design that is very versatile. It's fast optics, 8" f/4, allows it to be used as a table-top instrument, and a new tripod allows Kulali to be set on the ground and places the eyepiece at a comfortable seated height for the observer. Kulali's robust design allows for its stowed configuration to be safely packed in a car for transport but without needing to take overly cautious steps to protect it as with more orthodox telescope designs. And like its bigger brother Marana, a built in storage compartment houses all items safely other than the carbon fibre poles. Kulali is also a dainty 13.5kg. Kulali could have been designed to be even lighter, but then compromises need to have been made with balance, rigidity and robustness.
Kulali comes with an integrated heater on the secondary mirror, primary mirror cuff, secondary cage light baffle, modified Kineoptics HC-2 2" focuser, and with encoder couplings making it ready to accept digital setting circles of your choice.
We are proud to also offer a custom made leather-strap option that has a shoulder strap and hand strap all in the one unit. This offers more carrying options than just the metal carry handles, and also frees up one's hands to carry other items. The shoulder strap is adjustable so Kulali can be carried either on one's shoulder or over one's head. The leather strap is specially made for Gondwana Telescopes by a local Australian artisan leathersmith, using heavy gauge leather and metal components usually found on horse handling equipment.
Also fresh to the Kulali line of options is a tripod that sets the eyepiece at a comfortable seated height. Made from marine grade plywood and Australian eucalypt hardwood (Tasmanian Oak), this optional tripod is designed to pack inside the stowed configuration - not as a separate stand-alone tripod that can be forgotten to be packed!
At Gondwana Telescopes, we are aware that very heavy eyepieces are popular. These can be in the order of 1kg in weight. The instruments we fabricate are designed to be finely balanced and be capable of handling a wide range of eyepiece wieghts. However, the short mechanical leverage that both Marana and Kulali have means that a 1kg eyepiece will over balance the top of the structure. We are now able to offer counter weight options for both Kulali and Marana.
Why counterweights? Counterweights actually maintain the lightness of touch and action of the native instrument. Employing methods such as brakes, shock-cords (bungy cords), springs, etc, these all alter the quality of the action and can distort the structure, even impeede the correct working of the instrument.
Kulali is designed to offer great portability, ease of use and robustness while staying true to the principles of the dobsonian design, and keeping balance measures to a simple minimum.
Kulali telescopes are now available with the Astro Devices line of Nexus instruments.