|A fun filled evening of observation. This night I did not look for anything new, but showed off my astronomical prowess to my brother in law (kidding... remember, I have only been doing this for a few months!) by identifying 15 objects, many of which were very deep sky.
Amazingly enough, I used 3 eyepices the entire night. The 32mm 2" Astrola, the 25mm Epic ED2, the 9.5mm Epic ED2 and the 2" barlow. The most used eyepice turned out to be the 25mm.
We looked at:
M3 - Globular Cluster
This is one of the smaller glabulars I have seen, and it resolves nicely barlowing my 25mm down to 12mm.
M13 - Globular Cluster
The most spectacular cluster I have seen. Beautifully resolved barlowing the 2" 32mm down to 16mm. It takes on a real 3 dimentional perspective and I can look at it at great length just studying it. Truly amazing.
M92 - Globular Cluster
This is another smaller, too much magnification begins to take away too much light, and not enough magnificaton doesn't resolve it as much as it could be. the 25mm works pretty well on this one and the barlowed 32mm looks better.
M44 - The Beehive - Open Cluster
Both M44 and M67 are somewhat hard to find in my backyard sky because they are both in Cancer and Cancer is a very faint constellation. I found both of them this night with little trouble though. The Beehive is spectacular as it fills my entire 65 degree 2" 32mm eyepiece with bright specs of light.
M67 - King Cobra - Open Cluster
The King Cobra is also fantastic, though it is a fraction of the size of the Beehive, it appears to have about the same number of stars. I can increase the magnification on this object and use a 25mm or even barlow the 32mm down to 16mm and get an awesome image.
M57 - Ring Nebula
This planetary nebula is obvious in even my low power 32mm, but I can use the 9.5 at 150x magnification and see excellent detail once I put in my Lumicon UHC filter. The filter makes the nebula at least 5 times brighter and lets me see awesome variation in the nebulous haze.
M97 - Owl Nebula
An extremely faint object. Even with the UHC filter, though it is at least 2 or 3 times brighter, it is very difficult to make out the variance in the cloud.
M51 - Whirlpool Galaxy
The more I look at this, the more definition I see. The first time I saw it, I couldn't make out any definition at all. It simply looked like a fuzzy blob in the sky. Tonight, I could begin to make out 2 arms encircling it. Totally awesome.
M65 - Leo Trio #1 Galaxy
Very faint galaxy. I don't have much to say about this one yet.
M66 - Leo Trio #2 Galaxy
Also, a very faint galaxy. I don't have much to say about this one yet. Except that I am able to see both M65 and M66 in the same view with my 32mm which is pretty cool.
M81 - Bode's Galaxy
Also faint, though I believe it is one of the Local Group of galaxies. It's mostly faint because it's a face on spiral. One day, like M51, I may be able to see detail in it. For now, I am satisfied looking millions of light years away to a distant hazy wonder.
M82 - The Cigar Galaxy
An on edge spiral that is bright enough to not only see the shape of it but also to see the dust lane cutting vertically through the nucleus.
M108 - Galaxy
I don't know if this galaxy has a fancy name like some of the others, but it is also faint and I can make out no detail at this point. I believe it is a face on spiral and it is located in Ursa Major next to the Owl Nebula.
Jupiter is always killer. Though there was no Great Red Spot or lunar eclipse tonight, it's awesome seeing the detail of the storm bands and the variation within them. This detail comes out the closer I get to it and using my 9.5mm or even barlowing it to 4.75mm which gives me 315x magnification, is what allows me to see this.
Like Jupiter, Saturn is always killer. With the 9.5mm I get bands on the planet and the Cassini Division is a cinch. It still looks pretty flat though. However, when I Barlow my 9.5mm, the planet becomes completely three dimentional. The bands are clearer, the spherical nature of the planet is obvious as well as the shadow on the rings being cast by the planet. Simply incredible.