Hello {!firstname},

        Well you might not want to go that far. But I heard someone say that once at a Star party.
Dunno who, cos it was kinda dark..

    The night skies are diminishing.

It's no secret to anyone, that we are gradually losing the night skies, due to increasing light pollution.

   Where is the joy in observing, if it getting harder and harder to see anything from where you live.

Over the years, I have observed the skies in Toronto, getting brighter and brighter due to increased
light pollution.

It does not help that developers want to build a condo on every available square foot of Toronto
they can get their hands on.  That's a local problem here, but an example of is also happening
in many other cities.

 One solution of course, is to move to a dark sky location or go to a cottage.  However, that's not a
practical solution for most amateur astronomers.

   I enjoy observing under the dark skies of Manitoulin Island, which enjoys pristine dark skies,
for the most part.

So, if you are stuck in the city, or under suburban skies,  how can you maintain your enthusiasm for
the night sky?

    First of all, having a decent size aperture telescope, does make a difference.  A good quality Apo Refractor
4" or a 6" dobson at the very least.  An 8" Schmidt-Cassegrain is not bad at all.  

In this case, bigger is better.  You simply aren't going to see much at all with a small aperture instrument.

   With a decent aperture, you stand a better chance of seeing something worthwhile  through your telescope.
Especially important if you want to observe some of the fainter objects in the Messier or NGC catologs.

There are several other aids you can use, which work effectively as well: Light pollution filters, such as
the Lumicon Oxygen 3 or Lumicon UHC filters, can be quite effective as well.  

Use a Dewshield/Lightshade on your telescope.  This will reduce scattered and stray light from interfering
with your observations. It's really effective.

What they do is block out certain wavelengths of light, and transmit only the ones you want to see.

    Shooting out streetlights with a BB gun is not recommended and can actually get you in real trouble with the law,
So don't even think about it!

     Got a neighbour who has an annoying security light right in the path of your night time observing?

Here's a solution: Build a shield (you can use something as simple as garbage bags duct taped together, and
attached to Wooden sticks).

Also, please consider joining organizations like the International dark skies association .

 Their entire mandate is to help preserve and protect the dark skies that we do have.

 Clear skies,

Ray "Dark skies 4ever" Khan

PS If you have any tips or tricks that you've personally used {!firstname} be sure to let me know.