Had an incredible night last night that just kept getting better, but the two new standouts for me were the Helix Nebula (NGC 7293) and The Sculptor Galaxy (NGC 253)
Helix Nebula was just 25 degrees above the horizon for me. It was immediately obvious as a large fuzzy patch in my 60mm finder at just 10x magnification. Looking through the 15" at 137x showed basically just a larger fuzzy patch with no definition. I could tell that 137x was a bit much for this object and its brightness, so I dropped it down to 90x and put an OIII on it, and wow. Obvious elongated ring shape with hints of rough edges. No hint of a central star, but I didn't have very long to observe it before it ducked behind a tree. Was surprised at how clear it was despite the light pollution it sits in. OIII filters are like magic. Would rate it 4/5.
Sculptor Galaxy was just 21 degrees above the horizon, and required me to reposition my scope to find a slot between the trees to see it. I knew it was a large edge-on galaxy, but wasn't expecting it to to be that large. I started off at 100x and was surprised to see it extend about a half degree across the eyepiece, which was about half the field of view. The very edges were extremely faint and hard to see without averted vision, but a large chunk of the core (maybe about 1/4 degree) was well defined. Using 214x showed some texture and mottling. There aren't many objects that make me go "I really need to get out to a dark sky", but this was one. This would have been incredible from a truly dark location. 4/5 as well.
Also, because transparency was some of the best I've seen from my location last night, I decided to revisit some old favorites and spend more time observing them.
The first was M33. Last night was so good I finally could see this naked eye in averted vision. It was exceptionally faint, but I was able to aim my Rigel at the fuzzy patch that I saw and sure enough it was dead center in the finder. So I don't know if it was the transparency last night or my new 15", but this thing was absolutely littered with star forming regions. I've known about NGC 604 for quite some time, which has always been an easy target, but every IC nebula part of M33 listed in Sky Safari Pro was easily visible, and then some. Wonderful spiral structure visible. I also decided to hit NGC 604 with high magnification for the first time, and it has some obvious texture to it at 571x. Would make an interesting big scope target from a dark sky. I think M51 is still my favorite galaxy, but I gained a whole new appreciation for M33 last night. 5/5
The next was M76 - the Little Dumbbell nebula. Again, this is an object I've seen many times, but tonight was the first time in the 15". Prior observations showed the obvious dumbbell shape that gave it is name, but tonight I saw something new: the faint bubbles protruding off the broad sides of the nebula. I didn't know those were even there, and at first I thought there was something wrong my vision, but sure enough, they were were there. I couldn't see a definitive shape to them, just a glow extending out from each broad side of the main dumbbell core. The northern most one was the brightest and had a kind of bright streak in it. The southern one was a dim uniform patch. These were visible without an OIII at 100x and 3.78mm exit pupil, and at 137x and 2.78mm exit pupil. Throwing an OIII filter on at 137x helped a tiny bit, but not as much as say, the Helix Nebula. I wonder if a good narrowband filter or perhaps an H-Beta filter might work better for this nebula (or perhaps just a better quality OIII). 4/5
Overall a great night.