Since starting my "serious" viewing with binoc's (10x50) last fall, I've not had the opportunity to view the great open cluster of the Beehive. Finally, last night came dark (well, except for bad LP from a nearby city) and clear! Headed out at around 19:30 or so Eastern time and began hitting my favorites (M42, M31, M36/37/38 (got all 3), "h" and "chi" Perseii), plus went after other faint fuzzies that I haven't nailed yet. Added 5 or 6 of 'em to my log, but can't remember exactly which ones (and my log book is at home, drat!). Finally came to the Beehive in "turn left at Orion". Followed their star-hopping directions, and BANG!, there it was! Bright, blue stars, filling almost half my FOV, with hundreds of fainter stars filling in the gaps. WOW! Absolutely beautiful! No doubt it'll be on my target list every time out now that it's getting higher in the sky at a more reasonable time of the night!
Also was impressed with the open star field around Mirfak (?). Same bright blue stars, but spread out over more area and not quite as impressive as the Beehive.
I think I may have seen M82 as well. It's the brighter of the M81/82 pair, right? Pretty sure I saw something faint and fuzzy right where they're supposed to be, but had a lot of glow on all horizons so it was hard to tell, especially since I couldn't lie down for this one due to the tree line around my house.
Love them clear winter nights!!! Wally.