A slightly scaled down event for this years February half term Dark Skies event, saw Richard Darn at the helm, with assistance from WDAS members outside - should skies be clear enough.  Saturday's forecast for the evening looked 50/50 at best, although sunny skies during the day were at odds with some forecasts, so we hoped skies would remain clear.  Mark and Keith travelled over to Danby with just the two scopes ... no plan B equipment and paraphernalia, poor Richard would have that headache.  Arriving in good time, we joined John McCue and Paul Woods on the lower lawn, scopes  already set up.  Paul Cass also joined us, and along with Richard's scope, a good suite of observing instruments were on hand should skies play ball.  Conditions were not dissimilar to the the previous evening at the Fox and Hounds - variable but frustrating cloud cover that had an uncanny knack of obscuring targeted stars!

This is the scene we were hoping for - scopes are right - starry sky is not (click for full image)

The event officially started at 19:00hrs, and for a short while patches of clear sky were more prevalent.  Richard gave an assessment of the visible sky.  We did our best pointing out stars and objects with the laser pointer before cloud again filled in the gaps.  Richard resorted to plan B taking the group of around 30 indoors for a presentation - free from cloud.  The rest of us remained outside, luckily it was quite mild for the time of year with not a breathe of wind, so we were happy to wait for the cloud breaks.  We waited....and waited, odd brief glimpses of a star or two, then more waiting. 

Richard returned to review the situation during the scheduled refreshment break, but hopes were dashed of observing anything with cloud cover appearing even thicker.  Plan C, another presentation inside followed, whilst we amused ourselves outside playing spot the star, or should i say spot where the star should be!   

The event finished at 21:00hrs, and as everyone filed away, for once clouds did not part.  It had been an enjoyable evening, despite very little observing, but the company was great and Keith did manage to capture an image of comet E3 ZTF with the EV scope, so it wasn't fruitless.  Having bid farewells it was only on arriving back at the coast did we learn skies had been pretty clear most of the evening.....ddddrrrrr, the curse of cloud strikes again for the Danby event!