Mars is so bright, and the disc so large, and then so disappointing through a small Ioptron 150...I gave up, but the night was clear so I turned to a little cluster I'd not looked at before: NGC 6709. What caught my attention were the star chains trailing away from an almost circular ring of stars and the apparent color I could make out on some of the brighter stars. The cluster lies around 3700 light years away and may be around 300 million years old. There may be many more stars in this cluster, but it resides near the Great Rift in the milky way whose dust may be blocking our view. Of course observing in a Bortle 6 sky adds to the challenge as well. Tried again to look at Mars after doing this sketch... . Thanks for looking.
Clear ( dust free ) skies,