An incredible night of observing

Last night was our monthly star party for the Mid-Hudson Astronomical Association.  It was just about a perfect August night, not too hot, not too humid, and with very clear skies.  Apparently the effort that I’ve been spending on publicity for the group has been paying off, because we got at least a dozen new folks there last night.

Once we got enough dark to start seeing things, Bill managed to give a nice tour of the night sky, which people really loved.  This hit some of the major high lights of the big dipper, the little dipper, lyra, cygnus, scorpio, sagittarius, the the milky way, which was in quite full force last night.  Rick and I managed to effectively hide from the building lights behind a few trees, which left us in a nice dark environment.

With so many folks, and Sagittarius in good striking zone, I spent the first half of the night hitting globular clusters and the lagoon nebula over there.  My new ultra high contrast filter got it’s first work out on the lagoon nebula, which was striking.

As the evening wound on we saw two waves of people head out, until just Rick, Bruce, Ray and I were left.  Jupiter popped up to greet us, and we got a few views of that, though through that much atmosphere you were hard pressed to get it above 100x and still see anything.  I randomly found (only identified this morning) the Omega Nebula and the Wild Duck Cluster as I was just exploring around Sagittarius.

About 12:30 the four us decided to call it a night.  I got home at about 1, too wired to go to sleep for the next 45 minutes.  It was a great night.

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