How to Do Visual and CCD Photometry
Although we are now in the twenty-first century, when many leading amateurs use CCD cameras for photometric measurements, there are still plenty of visual observers who make magnitude estimates using their own eyes and good judgement, with no technical wizardry. Using big Dobsonians, typically of 0.4-m or 0.45-m aperture, or Schmidt–Cassegrains of 0.35-m aperture, they can make estimates down to 16th magnitude. Many Dobsonian users can locate their targets more efficiently than using a motorized Go To system, as they can haul their telescopes around the sky much more quickly than a few degrees per second and without the fear of any gearbox failures (common with heavy out-of-balance fork-mounted Schmidt–Cassegrains). The visual approach also puts the observer in touch with reality in a way that the CCD observer never can be: photons from the outbursting dwarf nova are actually hitting the retina!
Of course, it takes years to gain sufficient experience so that you can,...