Stargazing Report


February 21-22, 2004

by James Kevin Ty

Images by James Kevin Ty, Sketch by Allen Yu

The first of two stargazing sessions for the month of February was held last February 21 at Touch of Glory Prayer Mountain (TGPM) in Buso-Buso, Antipolo.  This is also the ALP simple way of closing  the National Astronomy Week celebration. So far, ALPers agreed that the group did achieve its goal in celebrating its first National Astronomy Week, which is to spread astronomy to the public with its two observation session in successive days.

ALPers arrived at the site at around 7pm.  Among the early ALPers who arrived were James Kevin Ty, Allen Yu, Rich Pijuan, Jett Aguilar, Mac Libid, Alfonso Uy together with his son Ian Kenneth and his wife, Chin Chin and little daughter Samantha, Edward Tan as well as Benjamin Jaramilla. Aside from the group, ALP has some new guest who have plans to join the society in the days to come.  They were Mr. Ike Tuazon and his daughter Crissy from Citibank and the trio of Rafael Lunar, Oliver Iliw-Iliw, Jr and Ronald Crema from Eastern Astronomy Research Society (EARS).

James then toured the guest as well as ALPers to the hilltop where the regular ALPers do their observation and imaging session.  The guest were awed by the dark skies of Buso-Buso and were eager to get some glimpse of the heavenly bodies that awaited them that night.  Although the sky was almost cloudy that evening, the group were still optimistic of the weather to improve later in the evening.

After touring them to the site, James decided that the group first have dinner at the canteen which were prepared by the staff of TGPM.  As the group were having their dinner, they also use that opportunity to get to know each other as well as share their astronomical experiences with the group.

At around 9pm, they went up to hilltop and started040221-k.jpg (31059 bytes) to setup their equipment.  James again brought his TV-101 refractor on GP-DX mount, Jett with his Stellarvue AT1010 refractor on Televue Telepod mount, Mac with his Meade ETX 70AT , Edward with his Orion Sky Quest XT6 dobsonian mount.  Allen brought along his Vixen 4" f/6 Newtonian on EQ-3 mount but didn't set it up because he was planning to have an imaging session that night but thought it was futile thus decided not to set it up and just look through the other member's scopes instead.

Although the sky was almost clouded out, there were lots of large opening in the clouds that let the members observe through them.  Among the first object the group aimed their scope at was the magnificent ring planet Saturn.   Although the sky was not good, the seeing was exceptionally good!  James and Allen swear it was the steadiest night they had experienced in their months of observing planets there.  Most of the time, transparency was always the king in this area.

When they have align Saturn with their scopes, James invited 040221-f.jpg (37509 bytes)guest Ike and his daughter Crissy to look through his 4" apochromat refractor.  At 225x, Ike was so impress with the amount of details this little scope extracted out of Saturn.  Then it was Alfonso, his son Kenneth and his wife Chin Chin's turn to view the ring planet.  BTW, Kenneth had just bought his new scope , a Celestron Nexstar 8i SCT but didn't brought it because he thought it will be cloudy but he swear to bring it next time so that he can compare the views from his scope with other member's scope as well.

Then a little later, Edward called the attention of Allen to check on his scope as he says there might be some dirt particle that might have resided in his scope's optical path.  When Allen looked through the eyepiece, it was not dust particle but it was a Jovian moon shadow crossing the disk of Jupiter!   James and other ALPers turn their scope toward Jupiter as well and got a good view of the shadow event.

040221-k.jpg (31059 bytes)Allen then asked James to check on his palm so that we can determine which Jovian satellite was casting the shadow.  With a few clicks, James told him it was Ganymede casting the shadow and Ganymede is also going to transit the Jovian disk as well.  Allen then glued his eyes at James scope until he saw the Ganymede light brownish disk entering the Jovian disk and was very happy and excited about it!  During that time, another group of ALPers namely Angie Tan, Melissa Bata, Cherry Cheng, Peter Ong, Grace Ong arrived and join the group in time to observe the transit and shadow event.  Aside from them, several members of the Crossroads 77 lead by Walt Yang and Taj also join the viewing session and were also quite delighted with their views of Saturn and Jupiter.

040221jupitersketch_yu.jpg (11540 bytes)At around 1pm, the clouds again covered up the entire sky and after another hour of futile waiting for the clouds to disperse, James decided to call it a night and everyone started to pack up. They have a group picture taken.   Before they left, James reminded the group that there will be another stargazing session on Feb 28-29 as James have requested to Alice Villa-Real to have another session again so that the group can have another chance to observe under clear dark sky again   next weekend........ :0


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2003, 2004  Astronomical League of the Philippines Inc.