I suppose there are man 'that time of year' events but this is one I've looking forward to since last year. Last night was one of the nights of this year's Summer Visitor Program at the Lick Observatory. We drove up to the observatory shortly before sunset and this year we came early enough to catch the first of the night's two talks in the dome housing the 36" refractor (pictured above). Unfortunately the air had so much ash from all of the forest fires in California that just before we were to take a look through the scopes the domes were closed. Ash is abrasive and too much of it building up can damage the optical surfaces of the scopes. Just when we arrived, we had a chance to look through the 40" reflector which was trained on Arcturus which was visible despite all the daylight. However with all the ash in the air there was a lot of scintillation and I doubt the views of the DSOs would have been very good anyway. Though we didn't see the DSOs through the big scopes, the talks were interesting and worth the trip. Next year I may consider volunteering to set up my scope in the back lot too.
Technical Specs: Canon 5D, 16-35 II @ 16mm, f/2.8, 1/50s, ISO 800.