finally, after being stored away in a dark closet for 5 months, i took my telescope outside for a gander at the winter sky. i might say the sky was behaving very nicely tonight.
it was crystal clear and cold, probably between 15 and 20 degrees F. to me, the sky seemed very clear and seeing was very good. disclaimer: i'm an amateur, so i may not understand all the details about how the atmosphere should behave for optimal viewing.
tonight, my goal was to view the Orion nebula. i've seen countless pictures of this beautiful ball of gas, and even seen it through the telescope at the Veen observatory this past weekend, but i've never observed it on my own with my own equipment. it was incredibly easy to find tonight, and i had good clear contrast even through my 10mm eyepiece. so, i've now found M42 & M43 with my telescope, next to find something different.
the Pleiades (M45) seemed like an easy quick target, so i viewed this open cluster briefly.
i've also wanted to find/view comet Macholz. again, i saw this at the observatory last weekend, but i've wanted to "get it" myself. i did, and again it was amazingly easy. i think i'm slowly starting to learn the sky.
before taking down my equipment i viewed Sirius. this incredibly bright star just rose above the roof of my house before i need to pack up. i almost need to get my sunglasses; this star was almost as bright as Venus.
an excellent night at the scope; wish it could have been longer and hope to have it out again soon.