I crept outside on the deck & checked out the dusk sky, I had been noticing the clouds were creeping away & thinning out most of the late afternoon.
As I stood there looking at Mars, my neighbor & fellow astronomer Steve popped out his door.
I told him how amazing the sky was and it wasn't even fully dark yet!
Steve had a busy day so he wasn't quite ready to grab his 3 inch Unitron so I grabbed my 127 Mak about 9pm and we set up shop in the parking lot with a nice tall 4 wheel drive truck as our shield against the plethora of lights in our complex.
Temp were in the 50's but there was no wind, a very comfortable night of views.
My main goal was to test out the Mak as I had tracking issues capturing Saturn on video last time out.
I was not disappointed, the telescope tracked quite well.
We had also planned on checking most of my EP to see how well they performed and we were again not disappointed.
To the west over our building, the Moon and Jupiter chased each other with the Twins Castor & Pollux in hot pursuit behind them.The sky had a nice calm about it, all of the celestial players were very prominent.
The Big Dipper, Arcturus, Leo and a host of others shined brightly in a dark sky often not seen here in SE Michigan.
We had some awesome views of the sliver of Moon, using the Baader Hyperion 13mm then adding FTR rings and even a Celestron 2x Barlow.
Jupiter with her four Gallilean Moons moved gracefully through the night skies but we never really tamed her as the views were somewhat soupy.
We attributed that to many factors, looking over a heated building, the sliver of Moon under Jupiter and the sheer brightness of that planet left us empty but satisfied.
The Baader Hyp is a glutton for high magnifications, the craters, mountains & mare were simply astounding!
We then turned out attention to Mars & Saturn in the Western night sky, they both had our attention as we played in the East.
Steve & I were completely blown away by how clear & dark the night sky was.
Saturn was a beauty to behold, the Cassini Division very well seen along with a slight hint of the center yellow band.
We were able to again fire up the Baader Hyp 13mm with both FTR rings, once using a 2x Barlow & different combinations of those FTR rings that allowed Saturn to fill the FOV very nicely.
That type of magnification was theroretically wrong but the sky was that darn good!
I used many Celestron Omni EP but the best view had been granted by a 10mm MA EP.
But the best was yet to come as I slewed over to Mars.
Again, the 10mm MA gave us a very red tinted planet with a slight hints of the dark areas.
A neighbor from upstairs had joined us along with another that stopped by just before we packed up.
As they viewed Saturn & Mars, the gasps & smiles were a small part of our reward that evening.
Alas, as the time neared 1am Sunday morn the clouds began moving in.
But my neighbor Steve & I will never forget that night when the night sky gave us a show worthy of an Oscar or an Emmy.
And the celestial gods rewarded us for all those weeks of rain & clouds.