Stargazing Report


April  9-10, 2005

by Dante Cruz


The CALIRAYA HILL-TOP RESORT CORPORATION in West Talaongan, Cavinti, Laguna was visited by TEN ALPers (SEVEN vehicles convoy) last Saturday, April 9, 2005: James Kevin Ty, Jett Aguilar, Mac Libid, Allen Yu, Joel Munoz, Orly Andico and Lalai Tagaan, Jun Lao, Mon Sarmiento, John Lawrence Uy and me,Dante Cruz.  That was my fifth trip to Caliraya, fourth with ALP.  We were not able to pass Pagsanjan Church as the road had detour due to the Bankero Festival.

The sky is always darker at Caliraya than in Buso Buso Antipolo, no wonder ALPers keep coming back here despite the long distance driving.  The weather that night was generally tolerable, clouds were not a problem. There was a slight haze; without it, the sky would have been a lot better. It was dewy as always, and the wind breeze lowered the real feel temperature that made the night cooler.Good news is that the stargazing was a success!  There was no intermission at the skies the whole time.  Its the most serious stargazing I experienced, like we were all on a scientific mission and each one has his own independent station to manuever; everyone seemed busy.

Congratulations Mon for your laptop imaging!  One can learn a lot from Jun Lao, who's like a walking and talking google starmap. He pointed what might be zodiacal light and this made Allen very excited. I did not hear Mac talk about M1. :)

The long stretch of the richest part of our Milky Way Galaxy, particularly near Scorpio, was an enjoyable feast to see this summer, making the night more memorable.  Its a lot brighter now than last November when the sky condition was a little better. Summer is therefore the best season to see and image it.

With Jett's extra scope, I was able to view th050409-c.jpg (68890 bytes)e heavens to my satisfaction.  I meticulously and patiently saw most of the sky through it.   Jupiter outshone everything else during this moonless night, so I spent more time with it. Four of its moons were easily seen. Also seen with various scopes were: Orion, Sirius, Saturn, the Southern Cross, Omega Centauri Global Cluster (NGC 5139), Globular Cluster M4 (NGC 6121), Ring Nebula M57, Vega, Antares, Arcturus, etc. There were also meteors, planes, satellite, firefly and ducks.

Time seemed so fast!  Its already bright when we had the group picture taking. After breakfast on Sunday, around 8 am,  the sky was a very beautiful post card blue!  John Law and I convoyed with Mon and headed back home. We took the alternate route I researched over the internet- via Antipolo.  Advantage of this shorter route is there is no toll fee (76 pesos), and much closer to those living in Antipolo or Marikina. The scenery has more nature views, more provincial setting, and zigzag roads kaya medyo enjoy at di nakakaantok. It should have been a lot faster if not for the more than one hundred uniformed league of mini motorbikers belonging to various clubs, cyclists mostly in yellow jerseys and headgear, slow jeepneys, and passenger tricycles who seem like kings of the road blocking the way by staying in the middle instead of travelling by the side, as if not wanting to be overtaken. Any driver would be tempted to overtake those.  It takes a lot of patience not to overtake.  Sunday morning traffic was experienced starting at Antipolo.  Travel time was 3 hours from Caliraya to Cubao.


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