Well, you win some and you lose some. After a spectacular first night of observing on Friday, October 1, the Astronomy magazine group got wiped out by an extremely late monsoonal flow at Granite Gap and Rancho Hidalgo, New Mexico. On Saturday the skies were cloudy, and on Sunday it rained — almost unheard of in October. We had to table many exotic objects on the list for the final two nights of viewing until the next trip.
As amateur astronomers, we spend most of our lives away from dark skies. Because of our jobs and more and more encroachment by light pollution, we rarely get to bask under the splendor of a spectacularly dark sky, let alone with a telescope at the ready. A new concept in dark-sky observing is about to change all that, however, and will make access to a dark sky easier and more affordable then ever.