Yesterday I looked at the long term weather forecast and saw 9 out of the next 13 days with thunderstorms, including last night at 9. Having had my new scope for about a month now and having had 3 clear nights since then, I was kind of bummed. The first of those three was me fighting dew and learning the new scope, the second was a good night, and the third was about three days before the full moon. I was beginning to think the bet way to help our local farms was to just buy a telescope. Around 7pm I looked at the weather again and AccuWeather was still calling for storms. I bring up My Radar and see the storms but, they seem to be fading out. Could it be? I bring back up AccuWeather and look at the US Satellite and see all of the clouds coming in are also fading away. I check temp and dew point and they are favorable so I take the chance and get the scope out back and check collimation. Then since I haven't slept good the past 2 nights, I try to take a nap. Fail. I take one of my wife's natural energy shots that she has instead. I already had a plan to test out my new 5.5 Meade UWA all night long. I was not going to sleep. I even grabbed the x2 barlow and UHC filter to see how those are on it.
Even before full darkness I could tell it was going to be a good night. I spot Jupiter and align my finder. There was a decent amount of atmospheric distortion but still better than cloud cover. I wait a little bit longer and start my journey towards things that were going to set soon. M68 was faint. NGC 188 was perfect. M53 was faint. M3 was beautiful and the major portion took up about half of my FOV. M5 was perfect. And so the list continues on faint objects, perfect onjects, objects that I observed and didn't make my "Favorites" list, and objects that I need a wider FOV for.
Around 11:30 I decide to look up and determine my naked eye visibility to be around 5.1 (maybe better but that's the faintest I confirmed). This is the clearest night I remember from my backyard in a long time. I turn back to Jupiter and it is pristine. I decide to barlow it and am happy I did. I could make four belts in the northern hemisphere distinctly standing out from the zones. I'm at x552 right now with very little atmospheric distortion. I decide to shoot to Saturn with the same process. Slightly bummed that Saturn does not enhance the same way when barlowed but, it's still Saturn lol.
My night continues on getting me about 2.5 hours on 33 different objects, a lot of learning about my limitations, and a desire for some new EPs and filters. I'll also follow this up with a post in the beginner's forum so I can get some daytime education from you experienced folks. Clear skies to all.