DaltonSkyGazer Astronomy News Magazine Portal

The DaltonSkyGazer Astronomy News Portal is based on the Flipboard online Magazine format. This section is updated several times a week to highlight the latest astronomy and astrophotography related news releases. The news sources are pulled from a variety of websites on the internet. Some topics I follow include space travel, current events, physics, astronomy hardware, observatory construction and operations, astrophotography, tutorials, mission updates, and general astronomy news.

Flipboard magazines are easily created by anyone, just register an account with Flipboard and use the tools to create your own magazine which highlights content from any source on the internet.

Read More!

About DaltonSkyGazer

I created the DaltonSkyGazer Observatory Blog and Website to share the lessons I learn as I progress on my path to mastering the fine art of astrophotography. Everyone has seen beautiful colorful images of space in magazines, yet few truly comprehend just how difficult it can be to capture and process those images. I hope by sharing my experiences along with articles and stories from other amateur astronomers within the community that this website will serve as an inspiration and helpful guide to those just starting out in the dark side of the hobby, astrophotography.

In 2015, I will be expanding the website, starting with a new design and layout. Look for new articles covering observatory and pier construction along with new articles written by others within the amateur astronomy community.

Read More!

Observatory Telescopes and Mounts

I purchased my first major telescope, the 12" Meade LX-200 GPS in 2002. The Schmitt Cassegrain is a very versatile telescope design, excellent for visual and imaging use. The LX-200 can be set up at native F/10, F/6.3, and F/3.3. The 12.25" scope excels at planetary imaging when setup at F/25, F/30, and F/40. In 2003, I dabbled into the dark side of the hobby having purchased the Meade LPI and the Sac-8 Mono imaging camera system. I also was using my friends Sac 7 color imaging camera at the time. Most of the gear currently owned was purchased between 2002 and 2011 timeframe. This section covers in details the specifics of the primary telescopes and mounts used at DaltonSkyGazer Observatory.

Read More!

Table 3 Maximum Exposure Time in Seconds for an Observer at 60 o Latitudjpge

Alt-Azimuth Mount Tracking Movement and Field Rotation

Alt-Azimuth Mount Tracking Movement and Field Rotation Introduction   Three persistent enemies of astrophotography with lightweight alt-azimuth goto mounts are field rotation, vibration, and tracking movement. For lightweight mounts and tripods, wind is a major source of vibration. Wind driven vibration is often enhanced by swinging camera straps, power cables, and wobbly tripods. Needless to say, securing all hanging objects is of prime importance as is having a sturdy tripod. Unfortunately, for many lightweight mounts, their tripods are also lightweight and vibration prone. Now add field rotation on top of this and you have some significant issues to resolve if you wish to use a lightweight alt-azimuth goto mount for astrophotography. Mount Tracking Movement Mount tracking movement, not field rotation, is often the major factor that limits exposure times for photography with lightweight alt-azimuth. Tracking movements originate from two sources. […]

Read More


Alt-Azimuth Mount Astrophotography Applications

Astrophotography Using Very Short Exposures with Lightweight Mounts Article 1. Alt-Azimuth Mount Astrophotography Applications by Joseph L. Ashley Jeff invited me to prepare a series of articles based upon my book “Astrophotography on the Go, Using Short Exposures with Light Mounts” which is part of The Patrick Moore Practical Astronomy Series published by Springer Books. This is the first article of the series. If you have an interest in using an azimuth mount for astrophotography, putting together a portable observatory that you can easily hand carry across town or to a dark spot, no longer are physically able to setup and use a traditional equatorial mount, just don’t like heavy kit, or are only curious; Welcome to Astrophotography on the Go. First, let me say what my book and this series of articles are not. I am not contesting the […]

Read More

Bahtinov masks on scopes

Astrophotography 101___How to Best Achieve Critical Focus, Using a Bahtinov Mask

  There are various methods one can use to achieve critical focus when preparing for an imaging run. The easiest method requires one to purchase or make a Bahtinov mask. A Bahtinov mask generator is available online, allowing you to create the exact mask pattern necessary for your imaging telescope. You can than print out this pattern and transfer the design to a suitable material which can be cut out with a sharp hobby knife. There are also several manufacturers who offer plastic Bahtinov masks at a very reasonable price in the $10 to $30 range. I purchased several bahtinov masks through Farpoint Astronomy Products, they were well built and available for a reasonable price(Image #1). A Bahtinov mask is a necessity in my opinion for anyone doing astrophotography.  Every astrophotography toolkit should include one for each scope which is […]

Read More

Field Power Distribution System from Zengineering

New Astronomy Product: The Zengineering Power Brick- DC Power Distribution System

New for 2015, the Zengineering Power Brick 12 volt Dc Power Distribution System.  All you need is a 12 volt deep cycle marine battery and the Zengineering Power Brick to provide power for all of your astrophotography gear in the field or while set up at your observatory.  *Note the Power Brick is an Electronic Power Distribution System, a marine deep cycle battery is required and must be purchased separately.  Zengineering has been providing unique hand made astronomy products to the community for many years.  Each product is thoroughly tested and built to order. With adjustable “switched and fused” laptop power, two fully ISOLATED ports for 12v cameras, two switched ports for DSLR cameras at 8v, real-time voltage monitoring, multiple switched 12v outputs, and full reverse polarity protection, Zengineering’s POWER BRICK is an astronomer’s most valued tool. It is designed […]

Read More

Snowmagedon 2015 – Honest Weather Forecasting or Overblown Media Hype?

Weather forecasters have been going absolutely crazy the past few days calling for a blizzard with historic amounts of snow.  You would think the end of the world was coming based on the various cover story titles posted these past few days.  The governors of several states have called for complete closure of the road systems within respected states ahead of the actual storm hitting.  Since when do states completely close down the road systems, is this the new norm?  Something is not right, something has drastically changed over the past few years the weather forecasters, media, and government need to be held accountable. Perhaps, the “Global Warming” lobby is behind this?  It does appear as if all of the weather forecasters and media outlets are scrambling to come up with the scariest and most gloomy, doom ridden headlines these […]

Read More

V5 Astro Products ZEQ25 Tefplate

New Astronomy Vendor Announcement_______V5 Astro Products

V5 Astro Products is an online astronomy store, devoted to upgrades, accessories, and modified products for the iOptron line of telescope mounts.  Almost all V5 Astro products are hand fabricated or crafted in the USA. There is no mass production and quantities and availability of items will vary. V5 offers various upgrades which improve periodic error and smooth out tracking on several iOptron Mounts. The upgrade kits are very easy to install. V5 Astro Products offers replacement knobs, tripod levelers, precision tuning kits, and a few other unique items specific to iOptron telescope mounts. The company warranties all products against defects in material or workmanship for the life of the original purchaser. Direct replacement will be provided in all cases. Full refunds will be considered on a case by case basis, provided the original component is returned in good condition. […]

Read More

Moon Image Triplet 80mm Meade

DaltonSkyGazer Observatory Switching to A New Website for 2015

I am currently in the process of updating the DaltonSkyGazer Observatory website.   I will be making many changes during coming weeks, during this time many articles and features will be unavailable.  A few of the older articles and tutorials will be back up along with several new ones which have been in the works for some time now.  You will see many changes taking place at DaltonSkyGazer Observatory Blog and Website over the coming weeks as I work on finalizing the layout, site structure, and color scheme.

Read More