Skywatch 8/15/14

The Back Bay Amerature Astronomer Group had it’s monthly Skywatch at a local park. It’s a yellow/orange zone and is a nice change from my red zone backyard. The first part of the day, it was clear and mostly sunny. As the day went on the clouds started coming in. As the afternoon turned into the evening the clouds seemed to be getting worse. My initial plan was to bring both of my telescopes. It seemed pointless to pack up even one with the amount of clouds in the sky. I have made the mistake before by not going out only to have the clouds clear right after sunset. I decided to chance it and bring both telescopes. Much to my surprise the clouds dispersed enough to get some decent views. First up, as always was Saturn. The seeing wasn’t nearly as good as the day before. I went from a 20mm to 6mm eyepiece. 6mm through my nexstar (337x magnification) was too blurry to be enjoyable. I backed down to a 9mm and found that to be acceptable. I left that going for anyone who wanted to walk up and take a peak. I moved my XT8 a few times, I planned to try and see the double cluster I saw the night before, but a tree was in my way and on top of that, clouds stayed in that part of the sky all night. 
I was treated to M21, with the M20 nebula in the FOV by one of the other members. I have never seen it and I am grateful she showed me this. I first saw it in her 10in Discovery dob. It was stunning! I ran over and punched it in to my Nexstar 8. My tracking and goto on this are pretty poor, but it got me close enough I was able to find it with minimal effort. I then went to the XT8 and found it manually. I did notice that the tracking on DSO with my nexstar work far better than planetary. Partly, I am sure because I am using 20-40mm eyepieces with DSOs vs 6-9mm for planetary. 
I spent quite a bit of time just enjoying looking at the stars, without the scopes. We had a handful of people come up and look through the scopes. I spent a bit less time observing than I planned, but had fun regardless. I really enjoyed M21! I can’t wait to sit down in a dark sky spot and look at it some more. 
The clouds started rolling back in around 10pm and by 1030 the sky was pretty well clouded over. So I packed up, as did everyone else and headed home. 
Also, I have a DSLR on the way so here is hoping I can start adding some more pictures. 
I find that I really prefer my XT8 to my Nexstar 8. Hunting is more fun than pushing a couple buttons. But it’s a necessary evil and needed for my astrophotography attempts. 
That’s about it. 

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