Resources for Naked-Eye and Small-Scope Observing

September 12, 2020

Allan Dystrup’s Classic Rich Field, and more

A few years ago, Cloudy Nights user Allan Dystrup started a thread called “Classic Rich Field“. It’s mostly about OB associations, and the early observations were all done with a Vixen 55mm f/8 scope. Later observations were done with classic refractors of up to 4” aperture, and included night vision enhancement. The thread fired my interest in OB associations, and I admire Allan’s commitment to making detailed observations with small telescopes. Also, other experienced observers chimed in with additional information. It’s one of the best threads I’ve ever encountered on CN.

Allan also published an overview of his Classic Rich Field project in Nightfall, the Journal of the Deep-Sky Section of the Astronomical Society of Southern Africa. It just came out this summer, and it’s a free download at this link (17 Mb).

What I did not know until recently is that he has a bunch of other threads going, including “Classic Messier“, “Classic Best NGC“, “Classic Planet Observation“, and “Classic Moon“. Turns out he also has a clearinghouse page with links to all of them, which is here. Go read and be inspired.

Scott Harrington’s DSOs for Small Telescopes, Binoculars, and Naked Eyes

From the wonderfully useful site Adventures in Deep Space, check out these thoroughly awesome observing lists:

100+ Planetary Nebulae Visible with Small Telescopes & Binoculars, by Scott Harrington

250+ Deep-Sky Objects Visible with 7×35 Binoculars and the Naked Eye, by Scott Harrington

Bob King’s Night Sky with the Naked Eye

I spend a good chunk of every dark sky observing session just looking around, with no instruments. So I was excited when this book came out, I got a copy, and I love it. Of course, that was all four years ago, and you’re just hearing about it now because I’m kind of a lousy blogger. But there you go. Here’s the Amazon link.


  1. I have read that Bob King book, very good.i do a fair bit of naked eye astronomy and I can’t decide if it’s 0x or 1x magnification wise? I’m sure naked eye is 0x but but have just been reading an article about daylight astronomy and he calls it 1x.well my naked eye Messier marathon is pretty limited from memory;m34,m39,m45,m44,m31,m35,m13,m22,m21,m24,m6,m7,m41,m42,m33?? and possibly a few others I can’t remember.m33 I think that I have see possiblity m29 too?I sometimes do a tiny scope Messier marathon using my Zeiss mini quick monocular which is 5×10.

  2. In my experience, naked eye is most commonly described as 1x magnification.

    Nice naked-eye Messier list. I would have to go through a lot of observing notes to assemble my own, but maybe it would be simpler to start a new one and see how many I can get. Under sufficiently dark skies, all of the Messier objects in the Sagittarius “steam from the teapot” are visible with the naked eye. I saw them that way from Santa Cruz Island back in 2016, as described in this observing report.

    I like your tiny scope Messier list, too. I should get a decent monocular one of these days.

  3. I’m too far north for good views of Sagittarius and Scorpius.I did live in Oxford in southern England at around 51.5 north but am now an inhabitant on north east England at 54.6 north .you can see Antares from here but not the Scorpions tail, from Oxford it was on the horizon here it’s just under it.Luckily I use to live in South Africa so I have seen all of those southern objects and I agree given altitude in the sky loads of stuff in Sagittarius would be naked eye.i forgot another naked eye m object m46.

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