I was out for a little over an hour last night and it was one of those "deceptive" nights – looking up with the naked eye, it looked like a good night. Looking through the telescope was a bit different…
Saturn was nice, when it was sharp (which was very infrequent.) At 200X, I could just make out Cassini and a hint of the shadow of Saturn on the rings. Because of the ring tilt angle, it looked like the rings went all the way around – they ended right where the major band began. Kind of a neat effect.
Mars showed just the faintest hint of detail. Just a little dark ragged line on the southern half.
It was when I went galaxy hunting that things really went downhill. After 20 minutes of fruitless searching in Ursa Major for a couple of galaxies (M81 and M82 were easy to spot, as always) that are on the H400 list and finding nothing but mirages (at low power, the objects looked like galaxies, but with some magnification became obviously stellar) I started hunting the sickle of Leo with similar results. I noticed Cor Caroli peeking up behind my Willow tree and took a gander at it. Nice to see some color in my urban skies for a change. I found M94 fairly easily, but couldn't find M63. Obviously, no other galaxies were showing their faces in Canes Ventari.
All in all, a very frustrating night for me and I'm finding myself frustrated even today. I'm seeing problems with all my eyepieces (except maybe the 6mm Orthoscopic) that make me wonder if I have an optical problem in the scope, my collimation or my eyepieces. Except for something in the dead center of the eyepiece, every star looks like a galaxy to me – a bright core with a scattered halo around it. Some eyepieces seem to show it worse, but I don't know if that's because they're better or worse eyepieces. I've seen some incredible views when seeing and transparency are good, but hunting these faint fuzzies down in the city where things aren't so obvious gets tricky. Advice/Opinions/Offers of Help appreciated at this point.