Although conditions were not the best, we made the best of the night. The turnout was reasonable for a winter night, although a large prime spot in the best horizon area remained vacant all night long. Steve Gottleib, Ray Cash, Randy Mueller, Allan Keller, Jim Ster, Jane Smith and I arrived before nightfall, and Joanie (an Orion employee) and consort arrived near midnight. Alvin Huey and Steve (Sorry, I just cannot recall Steve's last name) also arrived early but left around 8:30 p.m.
Conditions until about 2 a.m. were 7/10 seeing and transparency that varied from about 5-6.5/10. Transparency degraded somewhat after about 2 a.m.
So at the beginning of the night we has a 22", 4 dobs in the 17.5-18" range, a 12", a 10.5", a 12" Meade GOTO, and 4 pairs of large binoculars. Later, an 11" Celestron joined.
My favorite view of the evening was Thor's Helmet (possible NGC2593), which I viewed in my 18" several times during the night, with an OIII. It's a large ofject with an interesting shape that looks like a central region with large "ears" and a long tail. Ray Cash was kind enough to show me a couple of Hicksons. I also observed the Abell 426, the Perseus Cluster, when it was almost at the zenigh, but relatively poor transparency made viewing the many galaxies in this cluster challenging. Still, the night was very worthwhile after so many weeks of the absence of an observing opportunity.
This was also an opportunity to compare eyepieces, and hopefully someone will write that up.
My newly edge-blackened Widescan II was distinctly superior to two standard Widescan IIs, whose owners I believe will soon blacken the edges. The Great Nebula in Orion distinctly showed blue-green and pink in my Widescan II, despite the relatively poor conditions, for example.
Looking forward to more observing in the near future,
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