Tonight was clear, dark and not bad seeing at all. Not perfection, but the clearest night I've seen in 4 months.
Tonight I pulled up a handful of old favorites as well as confirmed a small planteary I've only seen twice before.
NGC 6210 - Planetary Nebula
Very small. Very faint. Difficult to see from my backyard when looking for it in a wide field, low power eyepiece. The slight physical difference between the nebula and other stars make me suspect, and zooming in to 150 power confirms the little greenish blue DSO. I found this little bugger with no aid of a chart. My memry of it's location (though I don't recall the exact star field) enabled me to find it again. Cool. I love adding to the memory bank.
73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann - Fragmented Comet - Fragment C
It is so amazing to see this object. The visits of this comet seem to be relatively frequest as I think we will be able to see it again in 2017 and again in 2022, but it will probably have taken on a different face by then. Fragment C tonight was pretty bright though not it's brightest yet. Starry Night has it at 8.8 mag with its brightest at 6.52 mag on Saturday, May 13, 2006. Unfortunately, the moon will be 99% full that night.
For tonight, the 8.8 mag fragment was clear and obvious with a tail bearing south/east. The coma was large for the size of the comet and the core was like a pin dot. I was pleased to see such a sight from my back yard.
73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann - Fragmented Comet - Fragment B
Fragment B was harder to find and much fainter than frament C. Starry Night does not track this fragment so I'm not exactly sure what it's magnitude is, but it seemed like about perhaps 10. Nestled in between two faint stars (also probably mag 10) there was no core and no tail. Only a small fuzzy object that looked like a large, distant eliptical galaxy.
73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann - Fragmented Comet - Fragment G
Fragment G felt like an amazing find. It was right in between two tight stars, possibly even a wide binary system. It was nearly invisible and looked more like the way a 12 mag elipitcal looks from my backyard. It was one of those... hmmm... I think I see something there... and stare for 5 minutes until you are convinced that you see the dim fuzzy.
So overall, a very nice night. It's always a victory seeing something that you will only see either once in your lifetime or not again for many many years. 73P will probably never look like this again. So I'm extatic to be an observer of it's history.