I'm not so sure the mission was a dud but from a ground based amateur telescope point of view it sure was a dud. There was no visible plume from my 10" scope and from what I saw in NASA TV there wasn't a visible plume from the trailing probe that crashed just a few minutes later.
I wouldn't say it was a waste of time though. It was great getting up so early and doing a little urban astronomy viewing prior to the big show. Orion was high in the sky and the viewing wasn't too bad considering all of the area light pollution. My neighbor has three large dusk to dawn lights that completely illuminate the driveway and add to that the several streetlights not to mention I live in the Las Vegas valley, the capital of light pollution, pretty much all the deep sky objects are washed out. We did have a decent view of M-42, the Orion Nebula and later in the morning after the lunar event we watched Venus, Saturn and Mercury rise in the east.
Even though the blast was not visible I did get some more great lunar video to share with everyone as well as some behind the scenes shots as promised but you'll have to check back later this evening for the pics. I'm gonna get some shut eye now as I only got about 4 hours of sleep last night.
As the great star gazer Jack Horkheimer would say, "Keep looking up!".
UPDATE - Friday 2:15pm PDT: Photos added! Click on the image for the gallery of the setup. Video coming later!
Another UPDATE - Saturday 8:30pm PDT: I uploaded a 587MB video late last night and knew it would take a while for SmugMug to "process" the video so I expected it to be done today. Oh well, another "Error - Tried and failed 10 times :("
Hey but they put the little frown face on the log so that makes everything ok, right?
I'll try again.