Monthly Meeting Report


August 8, 2004

Article and Images by Allen Yu

Amid bad weather last August 8, the ALP proceeded 040808-a.jpg (67026 bytes)with its August monthly meeting  amid a conservative number of members.  The willing souls include Mr. Dante Noche, Mr. Dante Cruz, Dr.Jesus Torres, Mr. John  Lawrence Uy, PAWS hosts Mr.and Mrs. Oscar Lei, new member Mr. Joseph Gutierrez, Ms.Rich Pijuan, and Allen Yu.  Little as it is, arguably this is a very productive meeting, as members were all indulged into discussions without hesitation, the imparting of ideas and techniques in actual observation were methodically organized, and the latest updates in local and international amateur networks were satisfactorily dealt with. 

ALP Treasurer Allen Yu opened the meeting with short announcements of ALP related activities, the Aug. 14-15, and Aug. 21-22 Stargazing session confirmed just in time all the way from the U.S. of A. via ALP PRO Rev. Alice Villa-Real and ALP President James Kevin Ty.  The idea of setting up the ALP library was briefed, and members were encouraged to contribute their “double” issues of astronomy magazine and books for everybody’s use.  And lest we forget that next month we will be celebrating ALP’s first anniversary, venue and date to be announced later.

With Allen Yu still on the floor, he presented what’s the heck is happening with Il Sole, as this month’s ALPha presented in is front page every observable detail of the Sun.  Christopher Go from Cebu City is to be credited for having imaged the first flare that were to be visible in amateur’s instruments in the Philippine soil, though his image was taken with hydrogen alpha filter, it was not known whether these flares were strong enough to be visible in white light.  The importance of flare was emphasized, how it affected our local environment, and for the record the strongest flare ever produced by the Sun was discussed, both of November last year and that of 1800’s where it produced auroras reaching the tropical regions including Philippines and Singapore (Manila Observatory data according to Fr. Victor Badillo).

Last but not the least, the various features visible in the wavelength of hydrogen alpha were not to be missed out. The book in review was “Visual Astronomy of the Deep Sky”, authored by Roger N. Clark.  It is common to the amateur community that Steve O’Meara made good reference on this book while compiling materials for his very famous “The Messier Objects”.  Slowly and surely, practical astronomy tips creep into listener’s senses, the sketch and “new” ideas, if not those overriding the false beliefs of using all too-low magnification to ‘see” details from deep sky objects now lie in the balance, Allen Yu challenges the audience to prove or disprove the claims of  Roger N. Clark. 

Before handing the floor to Dr. Jesus Torres on how to040808-b.jpg (58980 bytes) observe with the proper equipment and gadgets, still, Allen encouraged listeners to do their rainy season’s homework: to compile and list their observing programs, their wish lists.  Allen hoped to see Pluto this year, and presented his finder’s map and logbook on how to keep observations safe in records. 

Dr. Jesus Torres presented to the listeners his observing set-up, live.  It consisted of the Edmund Scientific’s Astroscan reflector, eyepieces, logbook, pens, redflashlights, starmaps, magnifying glass, his favorite chair was to be the gas-lift vertical motion computer chair.  The Astroscan features were discussed and members were thought how to use.  The logbook’s bread and butter requirements: The object’s name, designation, date and time of observing, location of the observer, seeing and transparency of the sky, telescope type, magnification and eyepieces used were all healthily briefed to ALPers,  the use and importance of red flashlights to preserve dark adaptation.  Comments of the object observed is mandatory, no observer should leave it unscribbled. Listeners were awed to see and almost feel the real thing:  040808-c.jpg (61803 bytes)how an observer takes comfort and pain to observe faithfully one object from another.  Dr. Torres posted a sheet of paper with starcluster sketched on it about 5 meters away, and urged listeners to try their skill in simple aiming the scope, focusing, and doing actual sketch from the eyepiece. Also, properly identifying the orientation from the eyepiece, how to determine the four cardinal points N, E, W, S were taught.  Now ALP members who were present will have the idea of what to do during our starparty at Buso-buso.  Truly, it couldn’t get better than this, all ALP members present gain something practical today, and also very scientific.

New member Joseph Gutierrez was welcomed aboard ALP as this was his first meeting attendance.  Allen urged Joseph to give the group a general idea of Stephen Hawking’s retraction of most of his black hole theory, and it generated a spirited discussion especially from PAWS host Oscar Lei.  ALPers, afterall, do keep the theory of relativity and grand unified theory in check, albeit silently. The meeting was adjourned at around 5pm.



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2003 , 2004 Astronomical League of the Philippines Inc.