Our club stargaze this weekend was held on Saturday night at our club's mountaintop observatory ( http://www.astroashe...in-observatory/ ) . We've had a lot of events suffer weather cancellations lately and this time there were clouds and a few light showers before sunset. But they cleared away nicely toward dusk except for some distant ones in the east, and we were treated to a fine view of the sunset.
I set up my Evolution 9.25 on the patio, and a couple of other members set up cameras. I got good looks at Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars as the sky darkened. We ended up with a head count of about 30-35, with maybe 10-15 being club members. I think the earlier clouds kept attendance down; a pity, since it turned out to be a glorious night. We were even entertained most of the evening by distant lightning flashing in the clouds to the east. It's been a while since the Milky Way was that bright here.
With full dark, out came my Mod 3 at prime focus. This location has an excellent view of the southern sky, spoiled somewhat by the light dome of the city and its western extension, about 20 miles away to the SSE and S. I have both a 1.25" 610nm longpass filter (Baader), and a 1.25" Orion 'Extra Narrowband H-a Imaging Filter', as well as a .63 focal reducer for my f10 scope. I was swapping around among these all evening, as well as making a brief test of an Orion ST120 refractor on a manual mount. I may have to start taking notes on combinations and targets as an aid to memory, but that might spoil the fun...
My main targets for the evening were M16, M8, M24, and M20. I spent a fair mount of the evening sharing the views, mostly with a few club members. Their reactions were pretty much the same as mine... "WOW!" The Lagoon is huge with NV! The Trifid is intense! I even had a very much tentative sighting of the Pillars of Creation, but I'm going to need some time to research & verify that.
The one thing I forgot to try is adding a Barlow to the mix. I'll remedy that at the first opportunity.