Its a really good report Mike. Everything you mentioned is why this scope exist. You can get set up and use it on a moments notice, its very light weight and portable, and it does an excellent job with the eyepiece you've used so far, and should do well with the others you have. Best of all, you basically used it realistically, instead of immediately trying to turn it into a larger powerful refractor.
A 5mm very good eyepiece sounds about right for approaching the magnification ceiling. It should do well using your 5.5mm Meade UWA and more so, I think your 10mm Delos would be an ideal eyepiece for your scope and all you need for most quick back yard exploration.
Also, 3.2 degs at 21x is pretty wide for most everything this scope can see with 1.25" eyepieces. A 2" diagonal and 2" eyepieces would really throw off the balance and probably require you to add a dovetail so the center of balance could be over the focuser instead of where it is now. If you can't detect Lovejoys tail in your location, more than likely your not also going to be able to detect the North America Nebula, or the full east and west side of the veil nebula, both of these are large and could benefit from 4 degs field of view to capture these entire objects, but again, 60mm will only allow you to detect so much, at least at your location. The Pleiades and Andromeda would be just fine in your scope at 3.2 degs with your ES 24.
The 66mm William Optics scope I had, similar to the one you just got, had a dedicated 2" diagonal made just for screwing onto the back of the scope. It was hideous, a complete after thought to try and satisfy those thinking they needed 2" eyepieces with this scope. If there's a way to do it and it looks clean and doesn't kill the extreme portability, it could be worth trying just because its fun with something this small. I added a single speed crayford to my ST-80 since I had one and it just took 3 screws to replace it and it was a perfect fit but I still use a 1.25" diagonal and eyepieces. Adding a 2" adapter, a 2" diagonal and 2" eyepieces are going to add an additional 2 or 3 pounds to the back of your scope in addition to a longer dovetail bar to balance your scope out depending on the eyepieces you use. That will basically double the weight of your tiny scope. It would still be very light, but it would change the personality of your tiny scope.
On comet Lovejoy 2014, in my suburban back yard, I was not able to detect the tail last night with my ST-80, but using my 100mm Orion F/6, I could just make it out by first wiggling the scope on the mount and noticed a thin nearly transparent tail moved with the coma. My 100mm Binoculars brought it out much better.
Since you were only out for 10 minutes, your eyes were not dark adapted, if that's even possible in your location, but that would definitely helps in detecting Lovejoys transparent tail.
Also, your focuser must be working fine. Some out here say it needs a micro focuser, and I think that's funny for a scope that will see most of its time under 80x. I noticed you didn't mention it, probably because you were using your scope instead of figuring out reasons why you shouldn't like it.
I also noticed, you didn't mention how horrible your optics were, because of the excessive chromatic aberration. Imagine that. Again, maybe because you actually used your scope and enjoyed it, instead of looking for reasons why you shouldn't like it. At F8.4, your scope has the color correction of an F/13 four in refractor which exceeds the Sidgwick Standard for color correction. In focus, you'll have to really really look hard to find any CA on anything, but that in itself could be something to hunt down, just like you would a deep space object. Check out our evening star Venus, or the moon when you can and see what you find.
My personal experience with Chromatic Aberration though, is after a scope exceeds the Sidgwick Standard for Color correction:http://neilenglish.n...s/CA-index1.jpg
its more of a conversation piece than a reality, "in focus" especially if the scope used is using quality eyepieces like you have, in the 3 you mentioned and a quality diagonal.
That glare you mentioned could have been because your scope was cooling down so rapidly. I notice with any eyepiece Ive ever used, you gotta keep those eyepieces warm so you don't get internal reflections coming through the multiple lens of the eyepieces. Even the Nitrogen purged eyepieces have this. If you were using your stock 45deg diagonal, it could have come from that also.
Either way, that's an excellent first light report!
Good luck with your new toy!!
I received mine yesterday and the skies were clear for about an hour after sunset tonight and before the moon rose so I was able to take a quick look. It was below zero already (-15 with the wind chill) so the operative word here is "quick"..
First off the build quality is excellent. The dew shield is slightly stiff to move up and down as is the lens cap but I'd rather they be stiff then loose. It's really light too. I didn't realize that 2 pounds (the difference between this and my ES80 triplet) would be so significant.
I had my 24mm Panoptic in the diagonal which gives a 3 degree FOV. I was out for around 10 minutes so I wasn't dark adapted but was able to see the following:
M45 - looked amazing and easily fit the entire cluster in the FOV.
M31/32/110 - M31 was very bright and M110 and M32 were easily spotted without averted vision and in the same 3 degree FOV.
Double Cluster - Looked beautiful. I've seen it in all size scopes and I think it really looks best in a small scope like this.
Comet Lovejoy - Large coma easily visible (the comet is starting to be naked eye visible as a fuzzy patch from my yard) and some detection of a tail but it's possible my mind was playing tricks on me. Others on CN though are reporting seeing the tail in binoculars though.
M42/43 - very bright and the nearby NGC1981 jumped out at me and all in the same FOV
I also did a quick scan of the milky way near Cass and it was a joy. Lots of knotty clusters of pinpoint stars everywhere.
Optically the stars were very sharp out to the edge in the 24mm Pan and on the targets I was looking at including Rigel I noticed no false color. One weird thing I thought I saw though was some extremely light "haze" in the bottom right of the FOV but I didn't get a chance to figure out if it was the atmosphere, fog on the lens or the eyepiece or what. I'll have to do a deeper investigation of it tomorrow during the day to see if I can detect it again. I didn't notice it anywhere but that one small location. The wind was gusting up to 30mph so I didn't even try and do a star test.
I hope to get the scope out again tomorrow night and do a more detailed run through as it's going to be a balmy 10 degrees and I should be able to view for longer then 10 minutes. I want to try my 12mm Delos and my new 5.5mm Meade UWA as well on the moon and Comet lovejoy among other things.
All in all I'm really happy with this little scope. It's so light it feels like I'm carrying around a clarinet! For the price of $279 it was a great buy.
I'll post some pictures and more observing reports after I get a longer time outside with it hopefully this weekend.