Well, despite the waxing gibbous moon, conditions were so good and the weather warm (45 degrees F when I started observing) that I had to go out and give it a try. Tonight I went back to the XT10, since I haven't used it much over the last six months and to be honest, I just wanted to put the tube in the base, a quick setup and take down. I went after a reflection nebula which was visible only with a filter and then open clusters. Conditions stayed good, Antoniadi II until around 23:00 MST when I noticed that the stars at zenith were sparkling and I then went to an Antoniadi III in terms of conditions. At 23:30 MST the wind had picked up and was blowing around 10 mph with gusts up to 20 to 25 mph (estimated). At midnight, I packed it in due to the wind but it was nice to do a short session in the backyard, and get to bed by 00:30 MST. It was nice to use the XT10 again, and the scope performed very good. I need to clean the mirror (its been 3 years and I can tell I used it a lot in the desert and in the mountains) and then give it a good collimation tune up.
I will say one thing last night reminded me. As an amateur astronomer you take what mother nature gives you. I would prefer to have this weather around new moon, but it didn't come. So I got out, did some lunar observing/sketching, did some double stars observing and then these items. Sometimes we need to take what we have, and make the most of it. Nothing wrong with observing doubles and the moon. I'll post those up in the next few days separately. So without any further ado, here are my observations for Saturday, the 12 of February, 2011.