|Observer's Handbook from|
Royal Astronomical Society Canada
Wide-field observing (both visual and imaging) generally requires a rich-field telescope, binoculars, or a fairly fast telescope with a long focal length eyepiece. These objects often have low surface brightness, so a dark location is definitely indicated.
Wide-field observing can be a nice change of pace if your usual deep-sky observing includes galaxies, planetary nebulae and such. For example, I've observed the Veil Nebula in Cygnus dozens of times with various telescopes. I always enjoy viewing it with a UHC filter and magnification around 100x. The telescope I use most often these days is a 14.5" f/4.5 reflector. My rather ancient 20mm Nagler eyepiece produces magnification of 96x with a field of view of about .86° with this telescope. I've used this combination of equipment for several years, so the end result is somewhat expected.
|14.5" f/4.5 Reflector|
I got a new lower power eyepiece a year or so ago that was a game-changer on things like the Veil. The new eyepiece is a 31mm Nagler which produces 61x with FoV of 1.3°. It turns out that the view with the 31mm eyepiece allows me to see most of the nebula at once. The view with the 20mm requires a lot of scanning around to view the entire nebula. While the detail is much greater with the 96x view, the ability to 'get it all' at 61x is a welcome new capability. I've also observed the Veil through a friend's Tele Vue-NP101 (101mm, f/5.4) with a 31mm Nagler. The view was stunning and quite different from my usual result. That view really inspired the purchase of the 31mm eyepiece.
|TeleVue's 31mm Nagler|
From this I think it is fair to suggest that we get into familiar patterns with our observing - both imaging and visual. A simple change like using a different eyepiece can produce a very different view, even with an object that is very familiar. Perhaps we should take the next step with this by pursuing an observing plan that includes objects well off of our beaten path. The "Wide-Field Wonders" plan may be such a refreshing change of fare.