Posted By Domenic Quadrini
All I had for a telescope was a 60 mm f/11.7 Vixen that I took along for spotting wildlife along the lake shore. My view of M31 was better than I ever remember seeing at home (mag 5.5--used to be mag 6--skies). I hadn't planned on doing any observing, so I didn't have an atlas with me. But I spent about 2 hours looking at familiar objects. M57 was perfectly defined at 100X (7 mm ortho) and I could see the 13th magnitude star just outside the periphery of the ring. At home I need at least a 4" refractor on the best nights to see it. M13 was nicely resolved, not to the core, but stars at the outer edge were easily seen.
With averted vision, I could see three or four stars within the bowl of the little dipper. When I got back home I checked my S&T Pocket Sky Atlas and discovered that the dimmest of these are about 7th magnitude.
As a check on my "newly developed" observation skills, I made the following calculation. Assuming that I could see 1.5 magnitudes deeper (7-5.5), I was seeing objects that were 2.52^1.5 = 4.0 times dimmer. This is equivalent to doubling the aperture. So my 2.4" at Flagstaff Lake was performing like a 4.8" at home. Next year I'll take my old 4.1" Jaegers and hope for clear moonless skies.
As she obsreved the milky Way with her binoculars and I was describing to her what she was seeing, my wife exclaimed, "Let's move here!"
Blieve me. I was tempted.