The full Moon on the 31st is a problem, but the nights are clear and cold. So, I took out my Explore Scientific First Light 102-mm refractor. I also brought my old and overused National Geographic 70-mm refractor. I viewed Jupiter, Saturn, Mars, the Moon, and unsuccessfully chased what appeared to be open clusters near the zenith. I do not know what the atmospheric effect is--and it may be my early cataracts--but I see patches of faint, cloudy light in the open sky. The telescopes do reveal stars there, only not tight groups.
With the ES-102, the Red Planet was green around white with all oculars.
Encouraged by a how-to on The Sky Searchers, I tried all of the smaller eyepiece combinations, 17-mm, 13-mm, 8-mm, and 6 alone and with the 2x Barlow lens. The 8-mm alone is the limit and the best views are with the teens through the Barlow. One advantage to the 8-mm over the 17-plus-Barlow is that the 8 alone is just a little clearer because it is just a little less glass for the light to work its way through, but that could just be the result of my expectation.
The Moon was great. I used their 25-mm (with my red filter 15% passage) and my Celestron 32-mm (with Moon filter 14% passage). Almost like being there...
We just had a week of rain and by 11:00 PM stuff was getting wet from condensation. So, I brought everything in. I slept through until 4:30. Tonight I will set an alarm and get up at 01:00 to try the Pleiades.
PREVIOUSLY ON NECESSARY FACTSSeeing in the Dark