I must say from the get go that this is a very informal report due to the fact I wasnt planning on getting any real observing in this night. My only plan was to point out the "favorable" objects and allow people to have a look through the scope.
I arrived at 17:30 to find 6 - 8 people already set up in the field. I set up the dob and hooked up the cooling fan waiting for it to get dark enough to start observing.
First target was Andromeda M31, It was very easily spotted even though twilight was still among us. It seemed rather a weird site to see Andromeda against a semi blue sky. M32 was barely visible and M110 was not visible at all.
Next upon request from people viositing the scope was the Ring (M57) and M13. Both objects appeared very nicely in the scope with the donut shape of M57 clearly visible even with a 42mm EP. M13 was just as impressive at low power the outer fringes of stars were clearly visible and with the 14mm W70 I was resolving stars almost to the core. The night was really nice and with the exception of a passing cloud bank it was almost flawless.
Next Bob and I were offered up a challange to find an obscure little planetary in Aquila NGC 6781. According to Bob Astronomy magazine had offered up this target and gave it a difficult rating. It was rated at 11.8 mag and would offer me more a challenge. The real key to finding it was all in the OIII filter which made it light up and stand out against the background. I searched for it without the OIII at first and passed by it several times. Without the OIII this plantary is no more than a dust speck on a bright background. It really is worth hunting nice round ghostly shape to it.
While on the hunt for planetaries I went and found the blue snowball and had a few people take a peek before moving on to the one of the final two challanges of the night.
Next target was M33, this target proved difficult for me and it was puzzling because in another 10" dob it was visible and when we used the same setup on mine it did not show up at all. I finially had to really darken the background to bring out the core of M33. The only thing I can think of is that the enhanced optics in my scope allowed more of both good and bad light in my scope and this bleached out the FOV. Once I put on a Deepsky filter which really darkened the background I was able to finally see M33. I could not come up with any reason why it was clearly visible in one 10" but not another.
One comet has evaded me for a few months. Partly because it was low on the eastern horizon. Comet 4p/Faye was listed as 10.2 mag and located in Aires. Well last night it was going to be in a prime location. Bob had armed himself with a star chart and I took some time to get my bearings. Once I was familiar I started my star hop through my finder scope trying to identify where I was in the sky. After some confusion and a brain that was starting to hurt I found the right star field. I looked in the low power EP. I think it was a 32mm Erfle and low and behold. NO COMET!!! Taking some serious time and searching through the finder again to be sure the star field was correct I again verified that I was in the right location. Looked into the EP and NO COMET!!! I searched the area and could not see anything. I was becoming very discouraged and decided to start a sweep of the area. I moved downward two FOV's from where the chart identified where 4P/Faye was suppose to be and there was that familiar cotton smudge sitting in a totally different area than it should be. I was seriously tired at this point. I had spent better than an hour and a half looking for it and I pulled my eye away from the EP and took a deep breath and looked again to be sure I wasnt imagining things. I then called Bob over to confirm that I did indeed see the comet and he confirmed it.
I went from exhausted to excited in a matter of seconds. I turned around and I had a line of people waiting to have a look at 4p/Faye and was more than happy to show it off. In both my scope and Bob's the comet was surprisingly bright for a 10.2 mag comet. It was very obvious and once I knew where it was I readily went back to it without any aid of a telrad or finder because it was so bright. It showed a very distinctive tail once I allowed my eyes to rest for a few minutes. The tail was clearly more visible in Bob's 15" as opposed to my 10" dob. I tried to bring the comet out with my Swan filter but it hindered this comet more than helped it.
Final thoughts on the night: It was really a nice night with not a spot of dew to deal with. It was one of the driest nights I had observing in a long time. The sky at the meeting field was perhaps the best I had ever seen it with lots more stars visible than I can remember. It was an overall great night.