Just last night I took the ST80 out for a viewing session behind my house. I live in a bright red zone with plenty of ambient glare. The ST80 has a 2" GSO single-speed Crayford upgrade. I put a 1.25" Baader RACI prism diagonal on the scope. I know that Amici prisms are not optimal for high power observing. But I intended to use low to medium power. I really don't like the reversed view of refractors and Cats. I do like the natural orientation, same as my eyes when I look up at the sky.
At this time I don't have the scope set up to handle heavy 2" eyepieces. I used to have it in rings and dovetail. But about a year ago I attached the small dovetail directly to the OTA to lighten the scope. I'll have to work out some other setup so it can handle 2" eyepieces without becoming unbalanced.
A green laser pointer was the only finder. The scope was mounted on a MicroStar on Vanguard Auctus Plus 324AT tripod. It has a crank-up elevator column. I also brought out my iPhone with SkySafari Pro and a camping stool. I put a few eyepieces in an Orion Padded Bag and hung the bag around the tripod. In the bag were an Orion Ultrascopic 35, Pan 24, DeLite 7 and Nagler Zoom 3-6.
At first I tried the Ultrascopic 35, but it was too bright for the red zone skies. Next I tried the DeLite 7. It gave a darker background, but the TFOV was a bit less than I wanted for this evening. Then I put in the 24 Pan. Just right! The NZ 3-6 never saw the focuser.
The GLP worked out very well for finding objects. It only took a few seconds to align it with the ST80. I consider the GLP a warm weather tool. Much below 40 degrees F and the laser - or its battery - will die. But when the weather is warm, it's much more convenient to use rather than a QuickFinder and RACI optical finder, and is lighter and takes up less space on the OTA.
I was outside for about two hours. In all, I located and observed over 50 objects with the ST80! I found most from memory. SSP on the iPhone helped me find some of them. Most of the objects were bright Messiers. The objects included open clusters, globs, a couple galaxies, a couple widely-spaced double stars, a few bright nebulae and a few planetary nebulae.
Edited by Sarkikos, 31 August 2016 - 11:18 AM.