How was last night? (Backyard)

by Michael D. Turner

First ever OR from the master lurker:

Last night was "first light" for my long-awaited (almost 4 years) AP130EDFS, which had only just arrived about noon. I got home from a seminar about 9:30. The sky was pretty dense, and a dim red object (the only thing visible in the sky) began to appear. Not looking too promising. About 10 or so, the sky had improved considerably, so I set up in my driveway. Now, this is one of the most light-polluted locations imaginable, other than a car lot. There are 4 unshrouded sodium-vapor beasts in my vicinity, two of which directly illuminate my driveway. The nearest one is just across the street from a tree which obscures it pretty much from some spots in my driveway. Unfortunately, it also obscures Mars in the east. The best locations for observing Mars before about 11pm are, naturally, where the sodium-vapor beast fully illuminates my objective! Nice test for flare.

By about 11 or so, Mars finally cleared the tree, the objective is only partially illuminated, and the seeing (poor is good from my driveway) improved enough to allow for some awesome views of the planet, best with my UO 7mm ortho, Barcon, and #21 filter (about 222X). The 4mm radian+barcon (390X) did nothing but reduce the contrast. Far and away the best views of Mars I've had yet, in spite of adverse conditions. Time to get out of my driveway!

I gave up about 12:30, when signs of approaching dewpoint became obvious. Now I need to look over some Mars images to identify the shapes I saw before the next session and jerry-rig a sighting device (finder still BO'ed) so I can find non-Mars objects.