Last night I attempted to test two things:
• How high can I view using mounted binoculars?
• When does a star take some effort to view it?
The first answer is less than 50° which is what I thought. This is the reason for placing an SALC season between an altitude of 30° & 50°. Anything higher than this, with a standard mount, is a strain on the neck.
I started the nova hunt, which was more like research, at midnight and ended shortly before the 1am curfew. I worked on four asterisms in SALC 53 in Auriga.
The number of stars viewed was 78 and 57 (73%) were deemed easily seen without having to expend any effort to pull them out from the background. The stars seen with a little effort totaled 21 (27%). The magnitude range for the second group was 8.6 to 9.3. For the first group there was consistency in 3 out of the 4 asterisms. The dimmest magnitude seen with ease appears to be 8.4-8.5. Some stars marked as easily seen fell into the mag. range for the 'seen with a little effort' group. These are possibly mislabeled magnitudes in the catalog.
Based on the above data I will print out charts down to mag. 9.0 and see if this works out.