What are dovetail bars?

BBC Sky at Night Magazine's Scope Doctor Steve Richards answers your astronomy ailments.

Altair Starwave ASCENT 102ED F7 refractor

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.

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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.”

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