Dogstar Observatory is a home astronomical observatory located in Balsam Mountain Preserve community near Sylva, North Carolina.

In 2008 we decided to build a second home in the mountains of western North Carolina. In addition to a mountain retreat from the noise, traffic and heat of Atlanta, we wanted to take advantage of the dark skies and incorporate an observatory into the home’s design. With the help of Al Platt at Platt Architecture in Brevard, we were able to combine our objectives for a blending of mountain and contemporary styles with an observatory that did not detract from the beauty of the home or the mountains. Scottie Oconnor from Ewing & McConnaughy Construction provide masterful supervision.

Thus was born Dogstar Observatory. Sam (the astro dog) who was our 6 year old Shih Tzu who often kept me company during nighttime observations. RIP Sam.

You can see some of my early efforts to master the complex art of astrophotography. The famous Orion and Flame nebulas are just two of the many great objects for astrophotographers around the Hunter. Its still hard to grasp how much time it really takes to capture detailed images of even bright objects like M42. Of course capturing the images is just the first step with the myriad of options for image stacking and correction. Hope you enjoy the site and images.

Be sure to check out the “Skies Over Balsam” tab. Here I will post a summary of celestial events for the coming month along with other information on astronomy of interest to the community. Be sure to email me if there are any astronomy related topics you would like to see or if you have any questions.

Jim Stratigos