Tried a few new things last night. I usually view from the North end of our garden looking South but tried the South looking North. For some reason, the scope alignment wasn’t good so I only positively identified 2 new objects, both in Cassiopeia:
Messier 52 Open cluster
Messier 103 Open cluster
The other new things I tried were a Vixen NPL 30mm eyepiece and a Baader Hyperion clickstop zoom mark III eyepiece.
The Vixen has the same true field of view as my 25mm Meade 5000 HD 60 (0.75 degrees) but I thought it was much sharper with better contrast and colour for what is a relatively cheap eyepiece (about 1/30 of cost of scope). Jupiter was obviously small at this magnification (x66.7) but was very sharp and contrasty with good delineation of the cloud bands. It was also quite bright and would have benefited from a filter for serious study. Andromeda galaxy was stunning through this.
The Orion nebula (M42) showed 4 Trapezium stars and the structure of glowing gas in the nebula more clearly than I have seen it before without either UHC or OIII filters. The Cats eye nebula (Caldwell 6) was a richer blue/green colour.
Once centred on Caldwell 6, I slipped in the Baader. I was able to gradually zoom in through 24, 20, 16, 12 then 8mm. This saved a lot of time changing eyepieces and refocusing. The best views for me were at 16-12mm. I could see the faint halo around the object best at these levels. It worked well also for Jupiter down through the stops. Although focus was difficult at 8mm, I suspect that is related to the characteristics of my scope rather than the eyepiece.
Overall, a mixed night but the Vixen is my new default general purpose/alignment piece and I look forward to using the Baader for planets/moon/planetary nebulae and globular clusters as well as double stars.