Quick observing night and some testing

Couldn't pass up a quick look tonight. The skies started to turn
partly cloudy around 10:30 or so. I really love the 8" Orion XT dob.
Everything just works so simply. I wanted to get first light through
my new 19 Panoptic and it was a joy. I switched all night from the 35
Pan to the 19 and then on Saturn went with the 12mm Radian. About
100x was nice for Saturn tonight as seeing was washy. Viewed M42 and
Running Man, the open cluster in Gemini (I was observing with no aids
and strictly from memory-I am a bit rusty), and the Leo Trio of
galaxies. It is always nice to get a little cold and see crisp views
of stars through the scope. Hoping for clear skies next weekend.

Earlier in the evening I did some testing with the Canon 350D and 135 f2 lens off the tripod. I wanted to get some "dark" condition experience operating the TC80N3 remote and also practice focus techniques. I can't emphasize enough how important it is to practice with your gear and get as familiar with buttons and knobs as you can. In the dark it really pays off when you know how to activate image review and move through images at high magnification as well as adjust ISO setting. So even though I wasn't photographing tonight, it was a good practice run for when things get "real."