It was an absolutely beautiful night tonight, with an NELM probably just above five, and a little bit cooler than usual for this time of year, I would say low 80s or upper 70s. I went out around 9:45 and was back inside by about 11:15.
I had several objects I wanted to go after this evening, starting with M101 due to it being highest in the sky. Unfortunately I again ran into the issue of the scope hitting one of the legs of the tripod preventing me from getting it into (what I think is) the correct position.
I made several attempts at NGC 7023 (Iris Nebula), but after looking at Stellarium again I think I was actually trying to work off the head of Draco instead of Cepheus. Ironically I had wanted to make an attempt at NGC 6543 (Cat's Eye Nebula), which I did not attempt. It has also become apparent that for most of the NGC objects that are not in the Messier catalog, NightWatch is not going to be any help. I attempted to use charts on my phone, but after having been working from printed charts for a while the phone blowing out my dark adapted vision (even at the lowest brightness) simply is not worth the hassle.
I also made a brief attempt at IC 4592 (Blue Horsehead Nebula), but was not able to identify it either.
Once I settled on M57 I found it easily. Being able to identify Vega, I was able to clearly see Lyra. M57 is easily located almost on the line between Sulafat (Gamma Lyrae) and Sheliak (Beta Lyrae). M57 is reasonably bright, for a planetary nebula, with the ring structure easily discernable and nebulosity spreading inward and outward from the most discernable part of the ring. It took magnification reasonably well up to 250, which is as high as I can go at present. I was not able to see the central star (magnitude 14.8). I would rate M57 a 3 / 5.
I thought about attempting to find M27, but it would have been somewhat low on the horizon so I decided against it.
I did spend a little time looking at Albireo, which was kind of interesting. If focused precisely the color difference between the two stars is discernable, but not terribly obvious. However, if the stars are slightly de-focused, into discs or rings, then the color difference becomes very pronounced. Once I had positively identified Albireo, the rest of Cygnus (or at least the five main stars) was much easier to identify.
I also made an attempt at NGC 7000(North American Nebula) based on the chart in NightWatch, but despite spending a fair bit of time on it was not able to find it.
I ultimately decided to try to find M27, and after a couple attempts to get positioned based on Gamma Sagittae using the finder scope, I ultimately sighted the telescope across the top of the scope. After doing so, M27 was in the field of view at ~ 42x.
M27 was easily discernable in direct vision, and showed a little bit better than I would have expected. The "eaten apple" shape was discernable, particularly if I moved the object slightly outside of the FoV and then moved it back into the FoV quickly. It was irregular, but hard to say which parts of the object I was seeing (ie, just the core, or the fainter outer regions). I would give M27 a 2.5 / 5.
The Milky Way is becoming visible, particularly in the area betwen Ophiuchis and Sagittarius. It was quite pretty, and I spent a bit of time just looking at the sky and listening to the almost deafening symphony of summer insects. I had seen one shooting star already, and while I was looking at the Milky Way I saw another, quite bright, flaring for probably a full second or second and a half. By the time I decided to wrap up Scorpius' tail was fully visible and Jupiter was coming up above the horizon. If I did not have to go to work in the morning I suspect I would have been out there quite a bit longer.
Edited by Mr. E. Figure, 11 June 2020 - 12:30 AM.