Due to the great weather all day and forecast for that evening, we put together a last-minute star party and it proved well worth it.
Mark arrived at around 7pm to start setting up (read: learn how to set up) the new Celestron Nexstar GPS 8. Once John arrived at around 7:15, we had quite an audience watching us hover over the telescope and controller, pretending we knew what we were doing! But eventually we got it aligned and on Saturn, which was quite a sight.
Saturn, with its amazing rings, and its moon, Titan are always a great first thing to see in a telescope and the 20 or so visitors were quite wowed by it. We were also visited by Kris from Bloomington and his 6" Dob. We're always happy to have more 'scopes join us!
We were able to start looking at Saturn as early as around 7:50pm - just 10 minutes after sunset, so it was a bit of a wait before we were able to start seeing the rest of the night sky. But by around 8:30 it was plenty dark enough to start looking at things like the multiple star systems Albireo in Cygnus, and Mizar and Alcor in Ursa Major (The Big Dipper). We also looked at some globular clusters, such as The Great Hercules Cluster, M13, and the globular cluster M22 in Sagittarius. The Ring Nebula, M57 in Lyra, the Eagle Nebula, M16, also in Sagittarius, and the Little Dumbbell Nebula, M76 in Perseus were looking good, too.
There was a lot of yawning going on by around 11pm, so we started packing up.
It was a great night for viewing and all of the visitors we get make it even better - we love sharing our hobby!
Weather-depending, we're still on for our regularly scheduled Public Stargazing Event next Saturday, the 26th, so we hope to see you there!