Nice to Have Unaided Eye Observing Equipment

Unaided eye observing equipment can range from no equipment to night lights, charts, chairs, table, etc. Observing equipment is divided into the bare essentials for a beginner and nice to have observing equipment.

The nice to have unaided eye observing equipment makes observing more efficient, comfortable and enjoyable.

Make an Observing Binder

The observing binder is a small black 3-hole note book binder with all pages inserted into top loading clear plastic sheet protectors. The sheet protectors reduce paper problems with dew. All observing binder pages are a copy of an original page from your astronomy reference library so that if a page is messed up in the field it can easily be replace. Taking copies of often-used reference pages reduces the number of books to carry to an observing session and reduces the problem of books being damaged by dew.


  1. "David Chandler's The Night Sky 2-Sided Planisphere" is a circular sky chart that shows you sky based on the date and time that is selected. "The Night Sky" is nice because it has low distortion southern view on the backside of the planisphere.
  2. Sky's limiting magnitude chart around Polaris generated from a planetarium software program.
  3. DARKSKY table created by Dave Heider software to give Sun set, Sun rise, Moon rise, Moon set, twilight end, twilight start and dark sky viewing time. Dark sky viewing time is the time between twilight end and twilight start minus the time the Moon is up. The dark sky time is the best time to look for faint deep sky objects.
  4. Eight sky maps from "Sky Atlas For Small Telescopes and Binoculars" by David S. Chandler and Billie E. Chandler. These sky maps are excellent for a beginner because they provide large-scale sky coverage, which is helpful in identifying the constellations. These sky maps go to 6 magnitude stars and only major stars are named. Only major constellations are shown with line drawings.
  5. Twelve sky maps from "The Bright Star Atlas 2000.0" by Wil Tirion. These sky maps show the same 6 magnitude stars as "Sky Atlas For Small Telescopes and Binoculars" but almost all the stars are identified. All constellations are shown with constellation boundaries and there are no constellation lines drawings. Also, more deep sky objects are shown in "The Bright Star Atlas 2000.0" than "Sky Atlas For Small Telescopes and Binoculars" which will be useful when using a telescope.
  6. Small flat plastic magnifier to read the small print in "The Bright Star Atlas 2000.0".

Reclining Lounge Chair

Small Folding Table

Star Field