The "No Frills" Tuckahoe star party was well worth it!!
We had three good nights of observing. The sky was very transparent
Thursday and Friday nights but a little turbulent.
Saturn displayed more than one color band on the surface and more ring color and detail we would have thought possible. The ring segment from the outer edge to the Casinni division was light gray, the middle segment was pale yellow and the Crepe Ring was a charcoal color against the black sky and obvious. In the outer segment, I noticed a thin line which became obvious as the planet rose into better air. The Enke Division was visible most of the way around. When I mentioned this to the guys with the big scopes, one of them said it was impossible to see in a scope smaller than 10". I invited him to take a look through my 6" refractor, then they all found it in their own (much bigger) scopes. Another myth shattered! A couple of us thought that we might have seen a hint of rays in the rings but we could not confirm it.
The Orion Nebula was magnificent. Lots of detail and a greenish color.
The 'wings' extended out beyond my field of view and the 'fish mouth' looked
like some one had drawn it in with black ink. Then, I viewed it in the
C-11 with a bino-viewer.
M-31 (Andromeda galaxy) extended way beyond my field of view, M-32 was clearly within the glow of M-31. M-110 was bright and easily seen in the same field of view. The Veil Nebula in Cygnus was no problem and also showed more detail than I have ever seen before.
All of my observing was done with a 6" telescope unless mentioned otherwise. Don't let anyone belittle your scope because it isn't a 'light bucket'. Keep your scope clean and adjusted, hone your observing skills and you will do as well as, if not better than, the big-boys most of the time.
All in all, this was, by far, the best planetary viewing any of us have ever done. We never expected to see detail in the GRS or to see the Enke division so easily.
During the day, we did a bit of Solar observing and watched a large
group of sunspots move to the limb and disappear. I suspect that this was
the group responsible for the long-lived aurora we saw Saturday night.
Many people camping in the park came by to see what was going on, so we
did a bit of showing-off and explaining the objects seen in the scopes,
This was the second, very memorable, star party at Tuckahoe this year. It was worth the wait. With a little luck, maybe next year will be as good.