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Deep Sky With Binoculars - An Introduction

Es gibt eine große Anzahl von himmlischen Objekten, für die ein Feldstecher dank seines großen Sehfeldes und seiner hohen Lichtstärke das geeignetste Beobachtungsinstrument ist. Rudolf Brand, 1967

Astronomical observations with binoculars have their own charm. Observing with both eyes, a natural impression of the image, looking instead of searching: With binocular observing we are particularly close to the sky. Binoculars show much more than the unaided eye. An experienced observer can see more with it than a beginner in a medium-sized telescope: All Messier objects can be seen in 5 cm binoculars, which are typical for astronomy. Even small binoculars with only 2 to 3 cm of aperture can be used with benefit in the starry sky. Using these small optics handheld is still fine, although a tripod will give a much steadier image. Binoculars with an aperture of 8 cm and larger are limited in their ability to be used handheld, and the charm of binocular observation is lost more and more.

Thus, the smallest observatory consists of binoculars, a rotatable star chart, a sky atlas and a list of worthwhile observing objects - which this page offers here.

Contributing observations

For individual submissions, an email is fine, which should contain all necessary information (see below). In case of regular or especially many submissions, these should be sent in CSV format (a simple text file).

The CSV file contains one observation per line. The individual fields are separated by a semicolon (;). If a field itself contains a semicolon, the contents of this field are enclosed in quotation marks ("). In total there are 13 fields. Ideally, the character encoding of the CSV file is UTF-8, but other encodings are also accepted.

Description of the individual fields:

Object name A common name (e.g. M13, Messier 45, NGC884) should be used. In rare cases there is no unique catalog name, e.g. Rosette Nebula. Here the alternative name, i.e. Rosette Nebula, should be used. In case of doubt a name is used which is as unique as possible.
Object type This information is only necessary in a few cases, but can always be given for the purpose of overview. For example, clusters with embedded nebulae are affected. The following object types are allowed:
  • AST (Asterism)
  • OC (Open Cluster)
  • GC (Globular Cluster)
  • PN (Planetary Nebula)
  • BN (Bright Nebula)
  • DN (Dark Nebula)
  • Gx (Galaxy)
Rating If the object is considered recommendable, a rating can be given here. 1,2 or 3 stars (*,**,***) are allowed. Alternatively, this can also be written as a number (1,2,3). If an observer rates an object several times, but differently, only the highest rating counts. The field can also remain empty. The total rating of an object results from the average of all ratings of the observers.
Instrument Binoculars are noted as follows: 8x40, 15x70, etc. When observing with the naked eye, 0 or A is entered.
Conditions - Bortle Indication of conditions according to the Bortle scale (1-9). In addition to the Bortle classes, tendencies can also be specified by '+' and '-'. Examples: 6, 4+, 3-
Conditions - SQM Indication of the conditions by the measured value of a Sky-Quality-Meter (SQM). The measurement is ideally taken at zenith. Example: 20.7
Conditions - SQM-L Indication of the conditions by the measured value of a Sky-Quality-Meter with lens (SQM). The measurement is ideally taken at zenith. Example: 19.4
Conditions - NELM Indication of the conditions by determining the limiting magnitude that can be achieved with the naked eye, ideally near the zenith. If one would like to indicate only a lower limit for the limiting magnitude, this can be written also as 5.0+, for example. Here the limiting magnitude is at least 5m0.
Visibility This field is only used if an object has not been seen. Any characters or strings are allowed. In other words: If the field is empty, a successful sighting is assumed.
Sketches List of images separated by a comma (,). The names of the image files must exactly match those in the list. Upper/lower case is taken into account. Spaces in the file name should be avoided. Please only specify the file name without path. The format of the images can be JPG, GIF or PNG.
Description (GER) Description in German language.
Description (ENG) Description in English language.
Notes Personal notes or remarks to me which will not be published. This column is optional.

In addition to the observations, information about the observer is of course necessary:

Notes about conditions:

When observing deep sky objects, the quality of the sky plays a significant role. In this respect, the specification of the conditions is mandatory. At least one of the 4 possible values (Bortle, SQM, etc.) must be given. The conditions are to be determined as close to the zenith as possible. A rough estimate, e.g. according to the Bortle scale, is also sufficient. Further information about the conditions can be given in the description, e.g. the limiting magnitude for observations near the horizon.

Additional notes: