Cold front came through Thursday bringing a clear but cold (for here) Friday night. I recently got new contact lenses that are supposed to work near and far; I wanted to check them out stargazing to see if they are a better option than taking my glasses off and on. I set up the 6339a on its native mount and tripod in the backyard. Kept it in 0.965" mode, inspired by the 0.965" eyepiece thread on the Classics forum. By the time I came in it was 32 deg, definitely chilly for these parts. Learned that I still need either readers or a "fresnel" lens magnifier to read my charts with the new contacts. Naked eye stars are nice and sharp, and its much easier using the finder than with my glasses.
Jumped around using 0.965 25mm & 12mm Celestron kellners and 7.5mm Ultima with a 0.965" thread on barrel. Didn't keep track of all the targets so here's some highlights I can remember:
M1: The 1st thing I tracked down. Quite faint but visible with averted vision as an elongated glow in the 25mm kellner.
NGC 2362 cluster in CMa: in the 12mm (100x) it was nicely framed in the field of view, but perhaps too much power to make it really stand out. Still, one of my favorites.
M79: The 12mm proved to be too much mag for this one, rendering it large but fainter than I expected. I should have tried it with the 25mm, but didn't. Nearby was the double HJ 3562, which showed up well in the 12mm. The primary was a warm white or very pale yellow, plus there was a more distant star beyond the close companion that formed a nice grouping.
32 Eri: One of the surprises of the evening. A yellow primary and a blue secondary about 7" away. The color contrast was quite apparent in the 3".
Delta Gem: The orange primary and its tight secondary were quite steady with the 12mm. In fact, the pair was more easily seen in the 12 than in the 7.5mm Ultima. I'm thinking the seeing wasn't quite good enough to push magnifications beyond the 50X/in limit. The 12mm kellner really impressed me tonight by also splitting...
Theta Aur: Much tougher than delta Gem, but the tiny secondary popped out reliably in the 12mm. The 2ndary was more easily seen in the 7.5mm but the 12 simply gave a more pleasing image.
sigma Ori: The 25mm pulled in the three bright members. The 12mm pulled in the faint 10.5 mag member. In fact, this faintest member of the group was significantly easier to see in the 12mm than in the 7.5mm. Again, guessing that seeing had much to do with this.
Pi Ori: Don't know if I've ever tracked this down. A nice pair with a faint companion that is obvious with AV and detectable with direct vision. Again, the 12mm provided the best view of the pair.
Eta Ori: The 12mm showed a "snowman" with a tiny waist; during fleeting moments I almost convinced myself that the pair was indeed split in with the 12mm...
After selling the Jason refractor - the only exclusively 0.965" scope I owned- I find that I don't use the 0.965's much, but tonight's experiences with the 12mm will keep these gems in the eyepiece case.
Edited by Pete W, Yesterday, 11:06 AM.