Tonight was extremely fun. My friend Scott came over with his 18" ATM Swayze Optics dob and I had my 16" Lightbridge out and we observed til the sky got bright and we were nearly too tired to break down the gear Most excellent!
We saw a little of everything. The Moon, planetary nebulae, reflection nebulae, bright fuzzies, faint fuzzies, Messiers, NGCs, ICs, OCLs. We had fun with his filter slider playing now you see me, now you don't with the Crescent Nebula and the Veil. The Blue Snowball in Andromeda was more like now you see me, now you REALLY see me. A great conclusion to the evening was the tiny shadow of an Io transit on Jupiter. Simply awesome in the full sense of the word.
We had an absolute blast. Observing is amazing solo, but like many things companionship makes it all the better. I love when I observe with friends. Here or there or anywhere. The Saturday before I was at Brian Fredrich's house from 8pm 'til midnight imaging with his 10" SN on a G11, then at Miquel's house 'til 4am imaging with his 6" MakCass on an HEQ5. What fun!
It was my first time using Scott's 18" since he made it. Pristine views. We had somewhat comparable views with my 16" for many objects, but his absolutely out performed my dob on M101 and all of the globular clusters. Overall his stars are sharper, contrast was better and since he has 2" of aperture more then me he could see a bit deeper. Rightfully so... he has a beautifully crafted scope both optically and his personal touch of craftsmanship.
I enjoy imaging... but what I really enjoy is visual observing.