It didn’t go as planned: I waited too long after setting up the scope (one of the Celestron C8 stable, equatorial mount), so by the time I went outside, Scorpius had already vanished behind a tree, leaving only the galaxy. I had a quick browse of the old familiar targets (Saturn, Triffid, the sort of thing I can find without assistance) and then set to it. The star hop started at Sigma Sgr, so it took me a long time to limp across to where the galaxy was supposed to be. I couldn’t see it, and spent almost half an hour scanning the starfield in the area till I knew it from memory and was convinced that I was pointing in the right place. All I could see was a dark empty space between the faintest stars where the charts said there should be a galaxy. I admitted defeat. But before packing up, I decided to try for another object that was on the chart, about a degree North of the galaxy: NGC 6818 – the Little Gem planetary nebula. It took 30 seconds to find the one star in the field that stayed blurry even after focus was adjusted. Put in a higher power eyepiece and there it was, plain as day. Pale grey, with possibly a blue-green tint, circular, quite small. I looked at it for a few minutes, trying to hold in my mind the image of the outer layers of a star being ejected out into space in a vast expanding shell of plasma, and reconciling that with the insignificant little smudge before me.