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?
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.
Dark skies really help!