There is nothing that quite beats observing from a dark sky.
Having said that, I know of several people that do the majority of their stargazing from suburban skies.
And the fact of the matter is, that you actually can see many objects, if you look carefully.
A few things are important to note though:
You do need a decent size aperture (6" and above) if you want to observe some of fainter objects visually.
If you own a smaller refractor, 70mm to 90mm then your best bet's will be some of the planets, and some
interesting double stars, and depending on the seeing, some star clusters as well.
It's helpful to actually make a list of say a dozen objects, that you know your telescope is capable of seeing,
before you go out, and then target those specific objects.
Always try to include at least one new object in your observing roster.
Try to challenge yourself, and don't give up if you are not successful in locating an object the first time.
Try again, on another night.
You will find these objects listed usually in any of the astronomy magazines, who every month give you
a rundown on sky objects to look for, along with some guidelines of what size scope you need to see them with.
Also, there are some excellent apps available for the smartphone users, including Android, Samsung that
are either free or relatively inexpensive.
A few I've used are Skyweek, SkyQ (from Celestron), and Sky Safari (I use an Apple Iphone and Ipad).
Since sky conditions are constantly changing, as is the phase of the Moon, there is no perfect night for
You'll find that if you take advantage of even a small window of opportunity (ie clear skies for a few hours)
instead of waiting for the "it's going to be clear all night" scenario, makes for a far more enjoyable hobby.
Now of course, I am talking about visual observing, not CCD imaging or Astrophotography.
If you have any tips or techniques for stargazing under suburban skies, I'd like to hear them, and I'll
pass them along in a future newsletter.
Ray "City lights" Khan
PS There is another remarkable, and overlooked way to observe deep sky objects, from the city, with even a small telescope
visually. Yup, I'll talk about that another day.