My first outing with the scope for 2 months now. Such light nights here, plus my inability to stay up so late has put a temporary stop to my hobby. Anyway , I went out to a moonless, planetless sky to see what I could do. Got the scope setup and tried for the first time the polar alignment option on the scope. This slews to where it thinks polaris is, then you adjust the mount to line up polaris in the main scope. Having recently got an illuminated eye piece, this was much easier than messing around looking through the polar scope. I did a 2 star alignment with vega, and dubhe, and then slewed to M57, the ring nebula. Iíd photographed it a couple of months ago, so I was keen to repeat the process. I was able to get some 60 sec exposures without star trails forming. I was pleased with that and the pics look great. Next I slewed to albireo. Iíd never had a good look before but have been told its one of the best doubles for colour contrast in the sky. It looked really great. I took a few short exposures and I couple of long ones to see what else was in the star field. Next moved on to my other favourite mizar and alcor. Took another 60 sec exposure and was amazed but the number of stars captured. The sky didnít look all that dark though, and to the south particularly poor, but it was cloudless so I continued. Next M101, the pinwheel galaxy. Quite disappointed though, it was hard to see, other than a faint blob at the centre of the galaxy. At this point I disconnected the camera and decided to do a bit of visual astronomy. Its funny but I much prefer to just leave the camera attached most of the time, at it out performs the human eye. But itís a great feeling to put your eye to the scope. I looked at the albireo region again and was impressed by the sight. Finally slewed across and found m57 again and had a look visually, but it didnít compare well to the earlier photos. I was pleased to find it though by slewing around the region rather than using the GOTO function. Also tried a bit of a go at drift aligning with the camera, but itís a steep learning curve and I didnít manage to improve on the polar alignment. In summary a good 2 hour session, and now time to have a look at the photos.

Clear skies.
Mick.