What Magnitude Stars Can You See?

While we’ve been at home for the Great Distancing, I have been experimenting with what I can see from my suburban driveway.

I know that I can’t see the Milky Way from my driveway.  A long time ago, when I went to a star party in a rural area, I learned that Messier objects that are easily seen with my telescope with dark skies couldn’t be seen from my driveway.  But I can see the bright planets and the major constellations from my driveway.

I’ve been trying to figure out the limit on what I can see by going out with a sky map on my phone (I’m using GoSkyWatch), and looking at constellations and trying to find the dimmest star I can see.  With a quarter-full moon not in my field of view, I can see stars as dim as magnitude 3.5.  With no moon, I can see stars as dim as magnitude 4.

My next steps are to figure out the dimmest object I can see with the finder scope on my telescope, with the telescope itself, and with my camera.

What’s the dimmest star you can see in your skies?

2 thoughts on “What Magnitude Stars Can You See?

  1. Nowadays I’d be lucky to see the Pleiades at all, but when I was younger and lived in the British Columbia wilderness, I could pick out nine of the stars in the cluster. I was proud of myself. Seven is what most people can see.

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