What are dovetail bars?

Steve says: "Dovetail bars attach to your telescope either directly or via tube rings, and to your mount via a clamp, making it quick to install and remove the telescope.


Dovetail bars are so called because their cross-section has the appearance of a dove’s tail, and it is this tapered profle that makes them safe and secure in use.

There are two main variants: the traditional ‘Vixen style’ with a width of approximately 1.75 inches, as seen in the image of the Altair Starwave ASCENT 102ED F7 refractor above, and the heavier duty ‘Losmandy style’ with a width of approximately 3 inches, though the latter has an overhanging ‘table’ of 4 inches in width.

It is common these days for mounts to have dovetail clamps that will accommodate both dovetail sizes."


Email Steve your astronomy queries to contactus@skyatnightmagazine.com and they could be answered in a future issue of BBC Sky at Night Magazine.


Astronomer Steve Richards
Steve RichardsAstronomer and author

Steve Richards is a DIY astronomy expert and author of Making Every Photon Count: A Beginner’s Guide to Deep Sky Astrophotography.