We were so busy overseas that getting an hour to just look up at the skies with a telescope alone were pretty rare, especially if I was expecting a clear night. Clear periods in the Philippines do not happen that often. So a few weeks into our 2 month stay I had the itch to look at Orion. If I went right outside our little cottage door, it was straight up. On February 11, it was hazy but I could see it. I grabbed the same scope we teach the teachers to use (a little 80-mm f/6 refractor) and set it up.
It is a lesson I teach but learn myself all the time: “Always record what you can if there is any sky features at all. Don’t let haze or bad conditions stop you.” The magnificence of our protected observing position on a special planet can always be appreciated. And, an “imperfect” set of sky conditions only means the observation is unique for the observer for that place and time. The students (and I) still have to learn to place the stars correctly, get their relative magnitudes correct, make the boundaries of where you can see nebulosity, and provide all the observing information along with a comment. So, that is what I did.
By the time I got done I had 6 Philippine children and two teachers watching the skies with me, and they got to see an observing sheet developed. In the weeks that followed, most of them did the same thing. That is exactly what I wanted them to do.
It was a very good night to give thanks to the One who stretched out the heavens for us to see.