|Tonight I bought a few more items. An Astrola 2" 2x Barlow and a Lumicon 2" UHC filter. I spent the entire night looking at objects I've already looked at, but this time, trying lots of variations of eyepieces and Barlows.
For planetary viewing, I noticed that actually double barlowing my 25mm down to basically a 6mm (250x) gave me the most clarity and detail without being so out of focus that the planet is difficult to see well. Because of this, I'd like to purchase a 6mm (and compare that to a 5mm as a possible alternative) so that I can have fewer layers of glass which should make my image at least somewhat sharper.
For viewing the clusters, both the small open King Cobra cluster as well as pretty much all of the globulars in my knowledge base, using my new 2" barlow with my 2" 32mm making an effective 2" 16mm (93.75x) with a 37 degree (or so) field of view, made them all look awesome.
Glaxies in my backyard are simply faint. They look pretty cool, the fact that I can find them and see the fuzzy spot in the sky, but I think I need MUCH darker skies to bring out any detail such as arms and dust lanes within the galaxy. I tried about every eyepiece on them and none of them did very good.
There are only two out to my knowledge. There are probably more, but I don't know where they are except the Owl Nebula and the Ring Nebula. The UHC filter really makes the Ring Nebula stand out as far as contrast goes, but not with any of my eyepieces could I see any color, or any real definition to the object. I mean, I could see that it was a ring, but that's about all.
The Owl Nebula also pulled out quite a bit more, though not as good as the ring. I tried really hard to make out the shadow within the Owl, but I don't think I can at this point. Both because of my untrained eye, and because the moon was a waxing crescent and the sky was pretty bright because of it.
So in the end, it was an awesome night of observation, and it was fun doing all of the experimentation.