So here's the rundown on my first, and I'll say fairly successful, encounter with B33. Had the scope out at a green sky sight this evening with great conditions. Seeing was just over a 3/5 and Transparency was a respectable 4/5 if not a touch more at times. ZLM was 6+, I didn't spend a lot of time determining it, but I found 2 5.8 stars quite easily. Several other people had scopes set up earlier in the night but had all left when I started my assault. We all agreed M42 was the best we've seen it in awhile and I even showed a few people their first look at the Flame, which was quite impressive tonight. Once they had all trickled out my serious work began.
From the Flame I worked my way down to NGC2023, a first for me as well. It appeared quite large and circular around a fairly bright star. Almost like the halo caused by a fogged up eyepiece(immediately checked to make sure that wasn't the case!). After a few moments a little definition came out give it a slightly triangular shape with the right angle being the brightest area. Next I moved West to the two stars I knew I should be looking between and to the South of. And that's when the work started. Keeping NGC2023 in the same FOV I played around switching out EPs to decide which one would give me the best shot. The 28mm ES turned out to be the winner, 2.8 exit pupil and 71x, plus a large enough FOV to frame the area while also keeping Altinak far enough away.
I immediately started to notice some extremely faint nebulosity between the two brighter stars. Using various AV and tube tapping techniques I worked to see how far I could get it to stretch. After about 10 minutes I had definitely gotten a nice thin elongation to the South and the original patch of nebulosity was starting to stand out very well. Another 5-10 minutes and I started to notice a darker area to the East of the elongation, which it seemed to wrap around. Aha! This must be it. I began to focus my attention on this darker patch and sure enough, the nebulosity seemed to surround it on 3 sides. After another 10 minutes I was sure this must be it, larger than I expected(even after being told to expect that) and definitely much darker than the surrounding sky.
Time to break out the sketch pad. I was nervous doing this because I was sure I would lose it the second my red light came on. I used my dimmest red light and tried my best to observe with the left eye, and shut it to sketch with the right. I will attach my sketch to this post. I'm sure some of the stars are a little misplaced, but I've never been too good at getting the distances and angles quite right.
All in all this was a great experience and I feel like a huge milestone for me. If it weren't for this forum I probably would have never thought to even try this in an 8" much less give it the time and patience it needed. Now someone loan me a 20" so I can see this sucker in all its glory!