by Alexander Avtanski
As a newbie I wasted a lot of time jumping around the sky and every time having to rotate the 8" EQ in the rings to put the eyepiece/finder in a convenient position, and then to balance. So, one thing that I learned is that a good observing plan prepared in advance is very important. I guess I'll get used to it, but anyway, I've seen some rotating rings that should make the things easier - do you use those, are they any good?
Other lessons learned were that a folding table is a must and that a high-brightnes red LED flashlight is too bright and doesn't work to read charts.
My highest thrill for the night was locating 3C273. Not much of a sight, but knowing what you are looking at is great! The other part of the night I spent randomly jumping through my list of M-objects. Included in the list of favorites M47, the M95/M96 pair, the NGC 3379/3384/3389 trio in Leo, and NGC 457 the E.T. cluster (this one is so cute!).
Sometime before midnight we headed back toward San Jose; just after leaving we figured out that we forgot to put tape on the stop lights of the van; my deep apologies if this caused any problems.