The dreaded thick stuff was slow to clear last night, forecasts suggested 2:00 hrs- turned out to be closer to 22:30hrs !!
BUT when it did start to clear it became quickly apparent that it was going to be something very special indeed :)
First order of the evening was to check the collimation of the scope-again using Capella, the image under high power was very promising, under very high power (600x) I was happy !!
I still happened to be plagued by little niggles though, like the newly recognised condition of Bahtinov's Syndrome, this is where the observer, satisfied with the focus of their instrument then proceeds to lose all sanity and proceed with their plans whilst leaving the mask on !!!
The clarity of last night was more than a treat it was a rare event for someone who lives just 3 miles west of a large, light polluting city centre like Leeds. M51 was clearly visible to the naked eye !!!
Soooo many stars- thankfully the thin Moon had set and not interfered with our viewing pleasure.
I did try to get in close to the Cigar, but without a 2x barlow, the 2x teleconv for the camera just wasn't good enough, too much CA introduced. Balance issues started to show themselves, but when I thought about packing in I noticed that M51 had slew n around the Birch tree and I thought eh up, it's just too good to miss ( I've wanted this for a while) so set about capturing.
What a tremendous night, mesmerising and truly awesome - now if this was a dark site I'd probably just be coming in !!;)