Here in the "SAO Gleanings Pages", I hope to provide interesting information on various projects being conducted at the Sirius branch of the VSC, such as the construction overview of my 10" f/5.6 "Gary Barabino" Fork Mounted Newtonian Reflector, and the Carton 100mm f/13 "Mary Dawson" Refractor. It is my sincere wish to inspire the young and old to pursue amateur astronomy as a hobby, because I believe that it  touches many aspects of our lives, and instills a better understanding of how our universe ticks. Let alone the spectacular once in a lifetime views of many objects many have never seen.


Mel Dawson holding his Home-Made Camera Adapter. Click to enlarge.

Mel Dawson of the SAO (Riverview, FL branch of the VSC) holding his home-made Afocal Digital Camera Adapter.


Construction Overview of the SAO 10" f/5.6 Fork Mounted Newtonian Reflector. Click to visit this section.

The SAO 10" f/5.6 'Gary Barabino' Fork Mounted Newtonian Telescope Project


Construction Overview of the VSC "North Star" Field Tripod. Click to visit this section.

The VSC "North Star" Field Tripod Prototype Telescope Mount      Project


Construction Overview of the VSC/ SAO/ BGRP 127mm f/9.4 Refractor. Click to visit this section.

The VSC/ SAO/ "Brigadier General Richard Pierce" 127mm f/9.4 Refractor Telescope Project


Construction Overview of the VSC "North Star II" Field Tripod. Click to visit this section.

The VSC "North Star II" Second Generation Field Tripod Telescope Mount Project


Construction Overview of the VSC/ SAO/ Carton 100mm f/13  "Mary Dawson" Refractor. Click to visit this section.

The VSC/ SAO "Mary Dawson" Carton 100mm f/13 Refractor Telescope Project


Construction Overview of the VSC/ SAO Jaegers 6" inch f/10  "Gelinda J. Dawson" Refractor. Click to visit this section.

The VSC/ SAO "Gelinda J. Dawson" Jaegers 6" inch f/10 Refractor Telescope Project




Since my 10" Newtonian construction overview took on so much attention from the astronomical community, I decided to share and showcase other construction projects I have taken on to aid others in fulfilling their dreams of building telescope components. I plan to host a growing number of construction projects that will hopefully assist many an amateur. We all know how expensive astronomical equipment can be. But, with a little know-how, perseverance, and help from resources like this, many an ATM'er can strike gold in producing his or her own astronomical equipment at a drastically reduced cost. I have been inspired to share my limited knowledge to the others within the astronomical community in an effort to give back some of the great things this hobby has done for me. I hope and pray that by showcasing my projects, it will foster and manifest great things within others.

To begin your tour of any of the above VSC/ SAO construction projects, just click on any of the above projects of your interest.


Hello Fellow Amateurs Astronomers, and Welcome to the Sirius Astronomical Observatory Gleaning Pages! When I was first drawn to amateur astronomy back in 1970, never did I imagine that I would be this engrossed in this fascinating and rewarding hobby. But, during the late 80's and early 90's, I placed this pastime on hold to hone in on family responsibilities and the like. At that time (1986) I purchased a 10" f/5.6 Coulter Optic Pyrex mirror set. It took me several payments to procure the optics, which cost $143.00. The set remained in its original packaging until 1999 when my interest in amateur astronomy was rekindled after reconnecting with my friend, mentor, and colleague Gary Barabino. Since I had worked in the IT arena for a good number of years, in 2000 I decided that once I start building my telescope, I would create a little website to provide a step-by-step overview showcasing its construction. This is how the Vega Sky Center's Astronomical WebHub came into existence. As the WebHub grew with additional pages reflecting my 10" fork mount telescope project, it captured the attention of the astronomical equipment magazine "Astronomy Technology Today". Thanks to Gary Parkerson (Managing Editor of ATT), I was given the privilege of writing an article covering its construction in the April, 2007 debut issue. What an exciting achievement that was!

As webmaster of our website, or "WebHub" (as we refer to it), I have continued to modify and upgrade the site since its induction on the web in the year 2000 to help other interested amateurs. It is now being accessed throughout the world. Via these "SAO Gleaning Pages", it is my sincere wish to make this WebHub one of the best amateur astronomy resources on the web.

So please check out my personal projects above as well as the rest of our WebHub, and I hope its content will aid each visitor who peers within.

To see some of the projects and goings on at the Sirius Astronomical Observatory, just click on any of the items shown above...

Please stay tuned. There's more to come...

Sincerely, Mel Dawson

...and "Clear Skies, Forever"!