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Quick session with an old friend


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Hello all

After reading a couple of threads on 80mm and 90mm refractors recently I decided it was high time I got the somewhat neglected Evostar 80ED out. It's a good little scope, but it's not as compact as the ZS73 and not much smaller physically than the 102ED so it occupies a niche and I don't really use it that often. Anyway, I got it set up on the balcony for the last couple of days in case the skies present an opportunity.

Sunday night was clear so I got a quick session in before going to bed. It's a bit of a restricted view from my balcony but the bottom half of Auriga was visible so I figured I'd try for a few clusters.

I started with M36 which was just a few stars in the 40mm (15x). Recently I was away under dark skies (which I'm yet to write up) and playing around with the APM Superzoom which I found to be very useful for clusters, so I switched to that and tried a few FLs. Zooming to about 10mm (60x) gave the best results, but still nowhere near as good as my recent dark skies! A loose smattering of pinpoint stars.

Onto M37, I star hopped down using the 40mm again. Very faint in 40mm, I switched to the Morpheus 17.5mm (34x). Much better, but still a grey smudge under my city skies. With the APM SZ I found a decent balance again at 10mm (60x), at this FL M37 presented as a surprisingly wide speckled patch, brighter at the core but with many tiny pinpoints of light resolved across much the field of view.

Gemini was somewhat obscured by a crane, but Ursa Major was mostly visible and I was curious to see if a recently new target for me, the Owl Nebula, was possible under my skies. Starhopping from I quickly found the spot, but no Owl. I suspect I may be asking too much for an 80mm under Bortle 8 skies, and although the UHC or Oiii should help, I did not have either to hand. I will try again at another time.

Another unlikely candidate to try whilst in the vicinity was M108 but I did not hold my breath, and a good thing too - nothing to be seen here which is perhaps not surprising!

I was starting to get pretty cold but Gemini was a bit better placed, so I though I'd go for one last cluster before I retired, M35.

I star hopped again with the 40mm, then switched to the zoom. Around that 10mm Mark seemed to be the sweet spot once again A beautiful and very visible cluster even in Berlin! M35 has become a bit of a recent favourite for me.

With that I called it a night. A short but sweet session reminding me that the 80ED is a very capable refractor, and perhaps there's a chance of a new lease of life as a semi-permanent setup on the covered balcony for quick sessions.

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