ON YOUR FIRST
NIGHT OF OBSERVATION:
1) Get your binocular and/or telescope ready. Make sure your optics have cooled to the same temperature as the air around you. This is important because you don't want the air inside the binocular or telescope to be at a different temperature because this difference causes distortions in the way light bends.
2) If you dont already have one, you should get a skyguide that shows all the locations of stars, galaxies, and other celestial objects. A good source for current sky maps are astronomy magazines, like the Sky and Telescope Locate what you want to observe on the map and orient your optical tool with the map.
3) Most importantly, close your eyes and count up to 200 so that your eyes will properly adjust to the dark. The longer your eyes are not in contact with light, the more they could see in the dark! Of course, make sure that the location you chose to observe the sky to be a dark place.
4) When you look at the starmap, make sure you use a flashlight with a red lens so that bright light doesn't cause your eyes to adjust. The red light is the only light that doesn't effect your vision at night.
5) Many astronomers choose to bring a sketch pad and pencil so that they could make a sketch of what they observed. This would help keep a record of your observances and in the future when you look back at it, you might find that some details that you sketched don't exist anymore or have changed locations.
6) Lastly, enjoy the universe that's revealed to you in the sky.