Man, I finally had a chance to get the scope out. 2008 was not a good year for observing. We had lots of issues with Sophie and her G-Tube, so many nights spent with her or flat out exhausted. Anyway, the tube is out for now and she is eating better with our help. Lets hope it stays that way.
I took the scope out around 8pm to cool off, knowing that it would be hours later that I would observe. Before I went in though, I took a look at M42 and was astonished at the detail that even the 20mm plossl could give. I stayed with the scope for a few minutes taking in the grandeur that is the Orion Nebula. I had never had such a view of it and could not take my eyes away.
After putting the kids to bed and a workout, I went outside at around 11pm. The seeing was not too great. This did not deter me though and I set about searching for a couple of objects. This is where frustration set in. I am not happy with 2 things about my setup.
First, the mount in truly in capable of handling the 80ED scope. It was shaking too much and the scope would sometimes drop to the zenith, even after attempts to tighten it up a bit. I still hope to step up either to the WO EAZY touch or a GEM in a bit higher price range. Funds are not abundant at the moment, so frustrations will continue.
The second thing thing that disappointed me was my eyepiece collection. My lower power eyepieces are all plossls and I need to upgrade to something better. I feel that I can get better views from the scope, even on less that optimal seeing nights and believe the eyepieces to be the limiting factor. To rectify this, I have a WO UWAN 16mm coming in. It should arrive next week and will replace both the 20mm and 25mm Orion Sirius Plossls.
So my attempts to locate some galaxies around Ursa Major(M81, M82, M101 and M51) were in vain. Now I know I am pushing it with the scope from a less than ideal location, but I thought it would be OK. I will try again tonight if the sky remains clear. Lets hope my luck comes in. I am confident I can locates their region, seeing them would be fun.