This was one of the best February Black Star Canyon star parties that I can remember as the sky was dark & clear...especially after the moon set at 8:30 pm. We had 30 cars come out which did include a few guests through the Irvine Ranch Land Conservancy. I appologize that some guests & new people blocked the normal road out as the late comers didn't realize it was the exit road. There was still an open slot for those leaving to manuver through and exit safely.
I opened the gate at 5 pm and the daytime temp of 75 F had dropped to 64 F, yet it was only 49 F at midnight when I closed the gate. We did see a number of star clusters like M36, M37 & M38 which I had suggested in my email...and they were spectacular, in my 40mm eyepiece. The Beehive star cluster M44 looked great too.
We could also see both M81 & M82 galaxies in the same eyepiece view... just fit in my wide angle eyepiece. Naturally, the Orion Nebula looked fantastic at X73 in my 5 inch ETX 125 with the Trapezium clear and lots of nebulosity.
The only dissapointment was in viewing the planets, the atmospere was not very steady and both Mars & especially Saturn shimmered. Saturn was clearer as it rose higher but more than 100 power was too much.