After all the smoke we've had in Colorado the last few months, and then a few days of snow that hopefully ended the fires, I saw a forecast for clear and transparent starting after 0200, with the moon setting at 0300. I couldn't resist and set an alarm for a pre-dawn session. There was one drawback, the forecasted temperatures were below 0F, so bundled up, with chem warmers in my sleeves and socks, I cast out into the cold.
I just wanted to get a feel for how the combination of Excellent Transparency and Below Average Seeing would come together in looking for DSOs on a night like this, and how my scope would handle the cold. So, I went after some sketching targets of objects I had seen before, but wanted better sketches of. I did a quick stop at M76, swung over to M1, and by now Orion was clearing the side of the house. Setting up on M42 I finally appreciated the great transparency, as more nebulousity was directly and indirectly visible than I had seen on any previous visit. Bright around the Trapezium (NGC 1976) with clearly delineated wisps of brighter clouds mixing with dimmer sections. The wings of the "bird" I always see were clear, and tonight I could see some of the gases in the "ball".
10" f/4.7 Dob. ES82 14mm eyepiece with Orion Ultrablock Filter
Black Paper, Gray and White pastels, blending stumps, white pastel and charcoal pencils.
Bortle 6 area NE of Denver. viewed after moon set.