Much much earlier this evening, I did a school event at Ocean Alternative Education Center, a K-8 in Live Oak, as detailed in the comment here -> http://astronomy.santa-cruz.ca.us/node/44#comment-11 .. The short verrsion is, it was totally overcast and I tried to do some indoor stuff... However, hours later, I stepped out to take my dogs for their last walk, and realized it had cleared, so I dragged my couter out of the back of my car....
On October 24th, a rather dim and obscure comet, HOLMES 17P, suddenly brightened to magnitude 2.5 or so, making it visible naked eye, even with the full moon.
It was spotted in Japan Wednesday evening (our wed. morning). I was viewing it with my 10" at various powers Wednesday night.. Its about 1.6 or so arc minutes in diameter, yellow, and shows a bright inner core with several dimmer shells ...
this sketch by a SF Bay Area amateur astronomer Alexander Avtanski Wednesday captures it quite nicely.
Last month, someone gave me a old Coulter Odyssey, an older mass produced dobson style 10" f/4.5... mid 80s, cheap particleboard construction, but decent optics.
the mirror was moderately dirty and had big gaps in its plating where salt air had etched it away. I replaced a few broken bearings with similar furniture glide bits found at the local hardware store, and it was usable.
the focuser was embarrassing, a crude push tube affair, difficult to focus without moving aim.
I've joined bill and chris on their sidewalk adventures at 'stinky beach' several times in the past few weeks, often on a moments notice.
the coulter has been great fun. had some amazing views of jupiter in it, crisper than any I've seen in my c8. it works very well with my 35mm ultrascopic, the 35mm + a celestron ultima 2x shorty barlow, and my 9.5mm epic-ed.