Very new myself. Got a 70m f/10 last Christmas with zero knowledge of astronomy. Enjoyed it a lot so got myself a 10inch dob last month which I’ve only been able to try out a couple of times due to weather.
I don’t have a go-to so I tend to do a lot of research before venturing out to find stuff. There’s a couple of sites which I reference (this is one of them). Don’t always find what I want but extremely satisfying when I do.
Last Wednesday was one of the rare nights with clear skies so I hauled out the big one around 11pm. Ended up spending close to 3 hours outside. There was a half-moon out. I estimate my skies are Bortle 6 but I have no clue how accurate that is.
Started at the moon which was beautiful but was also a bad idea since it killed my night vision a bit. I went down to 171x and got a lot of detail but I don’t know the names of all the features.
Once the vision recovered, I turned my attention to Leo.
I saw M65 and M66 for the first time. They were very faint and I could not see the 3rd component of the triplet. Tried various eyepieces to increase magnification on M66 and see if I could see any arms but had no luck. They framed nicely at 42x with a FOV of 1.3 deg (my 28mm eyepiece). M66 is a bit brighter but all I saw was the cores of the galaxies with a faint halo around them.
Also, visually identified Virgo. Picked out Spica which was very bright and was what first caught my attention and Poornima. Currently doing some research on how to find some of the Virgo galaxies.
Turned my attention to the Dipper and found M81 and M82. Have seen them before but it was my first time with the dob. They were much brighter that M 65 & M66. Again, tried to zoom into M81 with my small collection of eyepieces hoping to see some arms but had not luck. I will revisit them when there is no moon. For now, my 42x 1.3 degree eyepiece gave me a great view of both. M81 shows a bright core with an oval halo around it. M82 shows as a distinct line about a degree away.
Then turned my attention to M94 which is the easiest galaxy to find for me. The core is very bright on this one, again no arms but a slightly smaller halo.
Ended on M13 for a change from galaxies - another easy to find object for me. I got to 100x which showed me a fair amount of detail.
OP, I use this technique to find M81 & M82. There is another post on it in this forum but I don’t have the link. If you have Stellarium, you should be able to find the stars
1) Start at the faint star above Dubhe (23 Uma)
2) Head about 4 degrees perpendicular to the line between 23 UMa and Dubhe to a triangle of stars around 5 mag. These should be visible even in a 5x24 finder in Bortle 6 skies
3) Head down (parallel to the line between 23 UMa and Dubhe) to a pair of stars about a degree apart.
4) M81 and M82 should be about a degree away from this pair towards Dubhe.
I hope that is somewhat clear. I have been able to spot them a couple of times with my 70mm (very faintly) so they should be detectable in decent skies in most scopes.
Edited by Rajput, 04 April 2020 - 08:39 AM.