ALP TOTAL LUNAR ECLIPSE OBSERVATION AT UP-NISMED
May 5, 2004
Article and Images by James Kevin Ty
The ALP in cooperation with UP-NISMED observed the May 5 Total Lunar Eclipse at the roofdeck of UP-NISMED observatory. As Edmund Rosales was giving a lecture to around 80 students from various schools, ALP president James Kevin Ty arrived at NISMED at around 7:30pm to set up his telescope to try imaging Comet 2001 Q4 NEAT.
Edmund was able to point the 16" Cassegrain telescope toward Comet NEAT which was situated almost 1 degree away from the star Adhara in the constellation of Canis Major. After James was able to set up his scope, he was also able to point his scope toward the comet. The comet was diffuse with a central condensation on its nucleus. Estimated magnitude was about mag 4 but because of the thick haze at the SW horizon, it was impossible to get a good image of the comet :(
At around 10:00pm, ALPers Melisa Bata and Angie Tan arrive at the scene followed by other fellow members as well such Allen Yu, Jhun Embuido, PAS member/ALP honorary director Emilia Agustin, newbie Michael John Lopez, Henry So, Ice Ponce and her sister, Dante Cruz, Russell Limcangco, Rich Pijuan, Cherry Cheng, Peter Ong and family, PAS member Joseph Gutierrez, Joel Munoz, Alice Villa-Real and some of his friends as well as Mac Libid. Edmund Rosales' family also arrive at the site too.
ALPers then started setting up their telescopes at around 11:00pm. James brought along his trusty TV-101 refractor equipped with 60mm guidescope as well as a Sony D8 video camera to document the event; Allen Yu with his trusty 4" f/6 Newtonian reflector on EQ-3 mount; Michael John Lopez with his cute 60mm f/10 Leotax refractor on altazimuth mount; Henry with his Orion 127mm Maksutov on EQ-3 mount; Alice brought along Randy, her trusty Orion ST-80 refractor on Manfrotto tripod. Rest of the members either brought along their 10x50 binoculars or just join the group to observe the great event :)
After everyone has set up their telescope, newest ALP member John Lawrence Uy called up James and informing him that he and his sister and friends were already at the grounds of UP-NISMED. Since he brought along his new toy, a Celestron Advance Series C8 on CG-5 mount, which is still in its original box, fellow ALPers then went downstairs to help him bring up his new scope to the roofdeck.
Most of the members welcome John Lawrence to the ALP and in a short while, he was starting to set up his scope while fellow members were curious to see the new kid on the block C8 would looks like when it was set up. After a while, John join the group and do some introduction to each other while they were waiting for the eclipse to start.
Since penumbra starts at around 1:50am, James have started to take images of the penumbra at around 2:18am and it was starting to show faint shading at the 10 o clock position, then rest of the members start to try to visually observing the penumbral shadow to no avail. James , on the other hand has show the members the light shade already visible in his images as well as his videocam. At around 2:40am, the penumbral shadow was now easily visible to the delight of the group as digital cameras started to click away. After a while, umbral eclipse sets in as the group watched and imaged it as it progresses.
At 3:20am, the Moon was in a thick crescent shape already and the group starts to see the reddish shade as the Moon glides into the Earth's shadow. During that time, Alice was begging Allen if he could mount his ST-80 into his setup so that he can get some long exposure of the totality to bring out the reddish shade of the Moon and without any word, Alice ST-80 was piggybacked on his setup. Not to be outdone, upcoming ALPer Peter Ong then starts bugging James if he can get some images of the eclipse through his setup since both of them are using the same Canon DSLR, James then inserted Peter's CF Card into his 300D and Peter was delighted to have his own shots of totality :) That's one of the good part of the digital camera feature :)
The eclipse fever was suddenly interrupted when Michael John Lopez was trying to look for the 2 bright comets opposite the horizon where the eclipse was happening. It become a frenzy as the eclipse was forgotten for a while as all binocs and telescope were pointed to the comets. since the sky at UP-NISMED is not that dark even during totality, they were able to see Comet 2004 F4 Bradfield as a faint smudge near M31, Andromeda Galaxy. James then slew his TV-101 first to Comet Bradfield and after some alignment and composition, he was able to image it with a very long time that was not visible to the binocs. James then call the attention of the group to see the pic and when they saw how long the tail was in his pic, everyone then had a second round of viewing again to this comet to try to see if they can see the long tail visible in James' image to no avail. Well, the eye cant compete with CMOS, CCD or film emulsion in terms of sensitivity and that is why they cant see the faint, long tail :) LOL
After a while, it was Comet 2002 T7 Linear's turn to be image by James. Although the sky was becoming brighter and brighter, his image of Linear still show a good tail but not as long as the one Bradfield has because of the brightening background starting to rob their view of the comet.
Before they packed up, the group had a group photo taken with Moon still at totality stage as background.
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