Observing Checklist

When compiling this list I had in mind traveling for a meaningful amount of time to a dark site for a multi hour session rather than going out to the back yard. That’s when you really don’t want to forget things. Its also meant to simply be a good starting place. Everybody has their own preferences about what they need and enjoy when going to a remote location.

Summer

  • Telescope – OTA, mount, tripod etc.
  • Power source (extension cord at least) – very important, I learned this the hard way…
  • Eyepieces – a variety can be useful
  • Eyepiece filters – I like a moon filter and oxygen 3 filter
  • iPhone or camera mounts – both to mount on the eyepiece & piggyback on the telescope
  • iPhone or camera and chargers
  • Sky atlas – I like the Pocket Atlas from Sky & Telescope and the Sky Safari Pro app
  • Notebook – for taking notes, sketching, etc
  • Your written observing plan/schedule, could be a notebook, an app, a website etc
  • Binoculars – nice to have when the scope is tied up taking photos & for wide angle views
  • Flashlight – I prefer a headlamp, preferably with a red filter to preserve night vision
  • Foldable table – or sawhorses and a board to put accessories on
  • Stool or chair for using when looking through the telescope
  • Reclining lawn type chair for use with binoculars or your good old fashioned eyes
  • Tool kit – I have a small electronics tool kit with screwdrivers etc
  • Bug spray

Winter

  • Telescope – OTA, mount, tripod etc.
  • Power source (extension cord at least) – very important, I learned this the hard way…
  • Eyepieces – a variety can be useful
  • Eyepiece filters – I like a moon filter and oxygen 3 filter
  • iPhone or camera mounts – both to mount on the eyepiece & piggyback on the telescope
  • iPhone or camera and chargers
  • Sky atlas – I like the Pocket Atlas from Sky & Telescope and the Sky Safari Pro app
  • Notebook – for taking notes, sketching, etc
  • Your written observing plan/schedule, could be a notebook, an app, a website etc
  • Binoculars – nice to have when the scope is tied up taking photos & for wide angle views
  • Flashlight – I prefer a headlamp, preferably with a red filter to preserve night vision
  • Foldable table – or sawhorses and a board to put accessories on
  • Stool or chair for using when looking through the telescope
  • Reclining lawn type chair for use with binoculars or your good old fashioned eyes
  • Tool kitI have a small electronics tool kit with screwdrivers etc
  • Heater – I use a cheap infrared heater on top of a propane tank $35
  • Warm gear – boots, hat, gloves, coat, maybe even a ski mask
  • iPhone battery tank – I use Alaska Bear, it works for hours when my phone alone dies in minutes

Oh and during both seasons my wife usually comes and gets bored quickly, so we bring the iPad with a few pre downloaded shows or movies for her to watch.