- Remarks about the observations -
Some words about the observations described here
Evaluation of sky quality is unfortunately a really subjective matter. I mainly use the Bortle scale and SQM-L measurements for all my observations because of simplicity.
Basically the conditions are evaluated for the zenith. If I have some more meaningful values for the observed region, I will include these information in the object description.
The observations are divided into three difficulty levels, depending on aperture, quality of sky and magnification (and maybe filter). Easy objects can be mostly seen with direct vision and should be doable for most beginners. Moderate objects need in most cases averted vision and can be a challenge for beginners. Difficult objects are only visible with averted vision, often at the limit of perception. These objects even can be a challenge for experienced observers. In addition I have listed also objects that I couldn't see until now.
In the case of resolvable open clusters or asterisms the difficulty level corresponds more to how evident the object appears. An inconspicuous object would be rated as rather difficult.
For carbon and red stars there is given the perceived color (red/orange) instead of the difficulty level.
Due to getting more experienced over time the given difficulty level can significantly differ on similar objects. I will try to make this clear in the descriptions of my observations.
The object data were extracted from several freely available catalogues and other sources (SAC, PGC, UGC, NED, WDS, SIMBAD, AAVSO...). Unfortunately there are discrepancies over object names, magnitudes or angular sizes. That's why I've choosen only those data that seem usefull for visual observation.
The magnitudes are divided into visual magnitude (v) and magnitude of blue spectrum (b).
For double stars the magnitudes of the components, angular distance, position angle and last year of measurement are given. For variable stars you can find also the period in days.
It is well known that a larger aperture shows more in many cases. That's why most beginners tend to choose a larger aperture that can be just handled. My experience shows that especially spontaneous observations fall by the wayside, because of much more hassle. So most amateur astronomers have also smaller telescopes for those situations. Who wants to see more should not only be leaned towards big aperture but keep in mind, how often the telescope will be used. Many observations show at least more than a few, because becoming more experienced over time. As the saying tells us: The best telescope is when it is often used. Besides the experience there is also the quality of the sky very important.
Exit pupil / Magnification
In short: When observing faint, more compact objects, higher magnifications are needed. I often go down to 1mm exit pupil, when I observe for example fairly faint galaxies. At 8 inch aperture this corresponds to a magnification of 200x. Also for extracting details it can be very advantageous to increase magnification. I recommend to play around with magnification. However I must point to the fact that small exit pupils requiring getting used to because of a really dark image.