Usually I just go out with a list of objects in my memory. This time I decided to write it down for the first time, and what better place than a CN new topic tab?
This is next Friday. The forecast looks promising, I will get an hour and a half of full darkness before the Moon rises, and my wife will be away.
Stellarium is my friend. Sunset will be at 6:48 PM, so I will start observing at 7:45 with Mars, if it is clear to the west. It will be small and low but if the seeing is good will entertain me while it gets darker.
First target is the glob 1851 in Columba. I "discovered" it recently and have only observed it a couple of times. It is mag 7+, but with a very bright, tight, white core. Very pretty, deserves 10 minutes, plus 5 more for a look at higher power.
Next, galaxies in Dorado. The target is a new one, NGC 1672, a CN tip. But I also want to enjoy the view of NGC 1566 and the Dorado Duo in the same field with our new ES82 30mm EP, and I want to compare NGC 1672 and NGC 1566 for detail - fortunately, they are near and it is easy to slew back and forth between them. At least 20 minutes.
This is starting to feel like a race against the Moon...
Next, Thor's Helmet, but only if transparency is good. Another recent favorite, and I am still taking in all the detail. It will be near the zenith, it is a good opportunity for it. This one is a wide-field object for me, as it sits in a rich field of stars. 15 minutes, and by now it is 7:50 PM.
Next, M46, just because it is close by. I am addicted to planetary nebulae, so will have to pop in the 3.5mm, and of course the 30mm to get M46 and M47 in the same field. 15 minutes, fast EP switches, wish I had more time.
Next, another new target from a CN tip: galaxy NGC 2683 in Lynx. By this time it will be higher than 40o. I hear it shows much detail, although I have never seen an image of it and don't know what to expect. I could spend an hour on such a new target if the conditions are good, but I'll only have 25 minutes before the glow of the Moon just below the horizon starts washing it out, and I want to compare it with nearby NGC 2903 in Leo, so this will be only a first taste.
Next, take a break, fetch a glass of wine, wait for the Moon to rise higher, and go at it with every eyepiece the seeing allows. It will be a bit past 18 days old. Should have good views of the Theophillus-Catarina-Cyrillus trio - I love observing their different stages of erosion. The edges of Tranquilitatis and Serenitatis should be looking good too near the terminator, and perhaps the Taurus mountains.
That's it. Wish me clear skies!