I'd a spectacular night in Gallowayon Saturday 10th, when I made the trip down there with Nick Martin and Paul Cameron from Ayrshire AS. It started off with a beautiful sunset, and I managed to get some photos of an impressive sun pillar which appeared as the sun was setting. We arrived to find Colin from Renfrewshire AS already there, and we watched Venus and Mercury together as darkness fell. We'd been afflicted with almost total cloud, despite the forecast of 90% clear skies, and after ten o' clock the skies miraculously started to clear from the North, and we were completely clear by about half-past. I'd got the 16" Lightbridge set up, and Bill Ward arrived complete with mega coat as I was finishing. I discovered that my cool-down fan wasn't working, however...one more glitch to fix.
From then on the night was excellent. The skies were dark, not perhaps as much as I hoped, but the true effect was only visible once observing began. I was seeing far more detail than I'd ever seen before, and the DSOs were much brighter than I was accustomed to. Here's a rough list:
M81 and M82 (Galaxies-Ursa Major) M81 was spectacular. It reminded me of M31 viewed through a 6" Newt. The extent of the galaxy was remarkable, and we could see faint dust lanes.
M97 (Owl nebula- Ursa Major) I could at last see the "eyeholes" in the Owl, and it was very well defined.
M101 (Galaxy-Ursa Major) The spirals were visible..a first for me with this usually disappointing object.