How bright is too bright? and Miras in moonlight?
I've been reading on the forums and in other places about using an appropriate aperture for a variable; that is, not using a telescope that renders the variable too bright. The problem is, I'm having trouble deducing what an appropriate magnitude range is for a given telescope.
While I am fortunate to have access to several telescopes, due to sheer convenience it seems that my 66 mm f/6 refractor is becoming my variable star scope of choice -- its light weight (I can move around the yard with ease during a session to avoid trees) and gives a generous field of view. In some sense it's really one-half of a really high quality pair of binoculars. Indeed, I'm probably going to use it for the AAVSO binocular program and I think its safe to say that the variables in that program have been preselected for typical binocular apertures (50-80mm).
However, I also routinely use my 4" f/10 refractor and 8" f/6 Dob, often on weekends. For these scopes, how bright is too bright?
On my second topic, I seem to remember reading --- somewhere -- that Miras shouldn't be estimated when the Moon is up as the moonlight combined with their red color can make estimating difficult, especially for beginners. Is this correct? If it is, is there a certain class of star I should seek out on those nights between new moon and first quarter? (I tend focus on the moon and planets after first quarter as there aren't enough stars left to star hop!) My NELM is 4 on a dark night, so this might not be doable with my skies and equipment.