Today I got a solar filter for the Celestron NexStar 102 GT. This is very cool. For the first time, I was checking out the sun. It currently has many sun spots that I'm sure have some astronomical reference, but I don't know what that is at this point. I'll dig into that and update this entry. It seems to me that for the first time since I began observing, I have a significant reason to either photograph or illustrate the object of my observation. In this case, it would be the solar activity I see on the sun.
A General Note of My Observation Satisfaction
Having a good lunar filter and a moon map makes me want to look at the moon when it's out. It used to irritate me when the moon was out because I couldn't see anything else. Now I'm learning to enjoy observing the moon.
Having the solar filter now makes me not need to wait until evening to begin my observing session. (How cool is that?!) I can't wait until I get deeper into solar observation.
Finally, having the 12" Dobsonian makes deep space observation a reality. I can see many, many faint fuzzies and great detail in the brighter deep space objects. Further, the UHC filter in conjunction with this scope makes nebulea incredible detailed objects.
Overall, I feel that I have the perfect equipment setup for learning astronomy. I have been at it for a grand total of 7 months now and so far this new scientific hobby has been obsolutely fascinating.