Observing: First Light in Texas
After a month in Texas I got around to unpacking some of the astro gear and decided to have a quick peek from the backyard. The new abode is just south of Waco and barely 1/2-mile off I-35 so the sky is fairly soupy. Still, at zenith it is just a bit worse than Lake Wallkill - I can see Milky Way through Cygnus and M31 is faint naked-eye. The big trade-off is the trees: there ain't none here! So the southern sky which was hidden from me for 6 years is now visible, albeit over my roof, and a clean shot to the north means my polar alignment scope on the Sirius mount is no longer a vestigal organ.
But for tonight, it was the QRP rig - TV85 on the Porta mount. Went out around 9pm CST while Jupiter, hovering above the teapot in Sagittarius, was still high above the rooftops. Looked good with the LVW 8mm (75x), better (as always) with the LVW 13mm + 2.5x Powermate (115x). Soon turned my attention to globulars in Sag, objects that I've never seen (at least not since I've been keeping track of what I observe). M22 was faint, with almost no resolution of stars in the cluster. M28 was even worse, just a round fuzzy spot. I didn't stay out long, was in before 10:30
So we're not much better off than Northern NJ as far as dark skies is concerned, but at least I can see something below 50 degrees elevation now. The good news is, Linda's parents are far enough out in the country that I can see the Cygnus rift in the Milky Way without even letting my eyes dark-adapt, and I plan to tote the TV85 along with me when we visit.