Easily spotting M31 with the naked eye, I quickly aimed the scope using the Rigel Quikfinder unity finder and quickly studied the larger field through the 8x50
It was an extremely bright and large oval, stretching about halfway across the field of view in its major axis. Overall it was quite diffuse in appearance, and its core was a subtle broadly bright presence within the galactic disk. Studying it further at 152x and 198x, its light seemed to be fleetingly uneven at times, perhaps indicative of its elusive dark lanes, but I could not confirm. The galaxy was quite pretty and bright.
I next targeted the brightest globular cluster in M110 (G73) utilizing an image plotting its position about 6’ east of the galaxy’s core. Orienting myself to the field utilizing the image, I thought I caught a brief glimpse of a stellar point at the correction position at 110x and went up to 152x. I then could hold the object steadily though it changed in intensity as the seeing shifted. Using 198x it was easier as a steady yet dim (mag 14.9) stellar point at the correct position almost 1’ SSW of a mag 12.66 field star.
Later in the session, after chasing some galaxies in western Aquarius I broke off to pay a return visit to the southern challenge object for this month. Hopping down to 47 Aquarii, I swept ENE toward Upsilon Aquarii and easily picked up the famous “Helix Nebula” in the 8x50
Aiming the scope I easily saw a large out of round and very bright glow at 110x without a filter. Particularly with the NPB its annular appearance was readily apparent with brighter areas along the northeastern and southwestern edges of the rim. The western end of the annulus appeared weak and the because of this the nebula put me in the mind of a horseshoe with the weaker western edge being the opening. I tried the O-III filter as well but didn’t find any substantial difference from the NPB because of its good responsiveness in the O-III range.
The mag 13.5 was very obvious and there were upwards of a dozen stars imposed upon the disk without a filter. I viewed it from 110x to 283x both with and without filters. It was nice with no filter, but using either th NPB or O-III made it pop better to the eye. Overall this was a fantastic view of this object, which in light polluted areas can be quite challenging.