For this project I mainly use my 16" Newtonian on Alt/Az. mounting ("Dobsonian", though I fear, John Dobson wouldn't call it that way, because the mirror is expensive and the design is quite tricky). Older observations were done with the "Bleiente", a none-imaging 8" f/5.6 Dobsonian.
The 16" has a focal length of 2m, that's a focal ratio f/5. Given a solid ground (like concrete or thelike) one can observe with magnifications up to 670x without problems. The following set of eyepieces are in my box:
  1. 33mm "Zeiss" - actually I'm not so sure about that, but it's what the dealer said and it performs good. But to cheap for a real Zeiss, hehe :-)
  2. 22mm Leica - (62°)
  3. 14mm Leica - (65°) A hell of an eyepiece, especially for that money. Tele-Optic will bring it to you !
  4. 9mm Nagler - I like that one, though some people have problems with the distance of the exit pupil.
  5. 5mm Pentax - despite it's shitty housing (sorry Giovanni :-) it's a great eyepiece
  6. 3mm Radian - I just own it since early 2000. It performed exorbitantly on Hind's Variable, so it was a "must".


A word about the starcharts I used.
Actually they were printed with Guide 7 from Project Pluto. The famous Uranometria served as an overview chart, the Deep Sky Field Guide partially as a data source. Both books are of great value - but not for this project, because (clearly) only a few of the objects are covered. But ain't it nice, that we're able to go beyond limits with 16" and a modest sky ?
Guide was backed up by the "Deep Sky Survey" Online catalog, "NASA Extragalactic Database (NED)" and the "LEDA".
Comment 2002:
For the objects that I added April 2002 I was able to use the new program Guide8. All I can say is that the galaxy catalogues improved drastically!


I'm living in Wetzlar, Germany.
This is a 50,000 inhabitants town 50 km north of Frankfurt am Main and 15 km west of Giessen (80,000).
Basically there are five places which I used during these nights:
  1. Wetzlar, backyard
    When I was younger I couldn't drive so much and sometimes during summer I didn't want to do this in the middle of the night. So, in 1996 I used this site. It's south of the city center, which results in a astoundingly good sight. Fst 5.8mag is not seldom.
  2. Königsberg
    is a small village north of the line Wetzlar-Giessen. It's some 350m above sealevel and shows a rather good sky, mostly 5.8mag or better.
  3. Lützellinden 
    is just south of the connection between Wetzlar and Giessen. I use this site, whenever want reduce the time for driving. During the summer of 1999 I was quite often there and was surprised to have skies better than 6.2 mag in several nights.
  4. Stumpertenrod
    is nearly 500m above sealevel. I'm seldom there. But IC 1296 was confirmed during the night 11th to 12th Septembre 1999 while being there. Due to the long distance to bigger cities skies around 6.5 or better are not to rare.
  5. Cleeberg
    is south of Wetzlar and elevated around 400m. It's the best choice between good skies and short driving (17 min.). The southern horizon suffers from Frankfurts light pollution (especially, when the air is wet), but that's it. I've had a lot of great nights there !

BACK (c) 2002, Frank Leiter