National Astronomy Week Stargazing Report


February 19, 2006

by James Kevin Ty


The Astronomical League of the Philippines, in joint cooperation with the 060219naw-a.jpg (104909 bytes)National Museum Planetarium held a joint stargazing session at the Baywalk, Luneta to commemorate the start of the National Astronomy Week last February 19 (Sunday). ALPers who were present to support the event were President James Kevin Ty, Charito Ty, Allen Yu, Alice Villa-Real, Rich Pijuan, Brian Davis, Edmund Rosales, Dante Noche and wife Rosie, John Lawrence Uy, Tommy Tan, Joseph Torres, Maximo Sacro, Hans Gideon Cerdenia, Angie Tan, Michael John Lopez, Lea Visaya,  Janice Rochelle Ponce, Emma Catherine Flores, Lala Alcala and friend Sandy Ebrada, Jonathan Alcartado and wife Ellen .  The National Museum- Planetarium core consist of curator Mechor Pilones, Bel Pabunan, Nel Lagda,   Maxi Zabanal, Liza  Quitlong, Mary Ann Ramirez and Racquel Garcia.

Nine telescopes were setup during the night:  James brought his TV-101 refractor on Vixen GP-D equatorial mount as well as ALP's 8" SCT (Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope) on LX10 fork mount , Allen  brought his Skywatcher  6" f/5 reflector on EQ-4 equatorial mount, Alice brought his Nexstar 5"  SCT, John Lawrence  and Brian brought their Celestron 8" SCT on ASGT EQ-5 equatorial mount, Jonathan brought his Orion 90mm f/11 refractor on EQ-4 equatorial mount, Dante brought his 8" f/6 Discovery Dobsonian telescope. Planetarium group brought along their 8" Celestron C8 on fork equatorial mount.

They started to meet  at around 4:30pm.  Max Sacro was there to help out in setting up the ALP / Planetarium NAW banner while James, on the other hand, started to check  for the group's telescope setup area as he draws the floor plan for the group as well as what objects they will be observing. 

After receiving an orientation on what to observe for the night as 060219naw-q.jpg (85469 bytes)well as   who will be manning each scope, they started to set up their scopes on areas designated by James. The stargazing session started at around 6:45pm with most scopes pointed at the great and lovely ringed planet, Saturn.  Saturn was a joy to look at from different scopes.  Some scopes show Saturn at high power while some scopes let the viewer view the planet at low power together  with the beautiful Beehive / Praesepe star cluster !  As the time passed by, ALPers also show other deep sky objects like the Great Orion Nebula, Pleiades star cluster, the brightest star Sirius, double star Castor, etc to the crowd.  Even with ample sky glow  caused by some street lamp, deep sky object such as M42 (the Great Orion Nebula) still show a lot of details with the Trapezium and the fish mouth structure of the nebula clearly visible.   The double star Castor in constellation Gemini was also resolve amid fair to poor seeing condition.

The group ended the exhausting  but very enjoyable stargazing session   with a traditional posterity group shot by members of the Astronomical League of the Philippines as well as the National Museum Planetarium.

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To sum it all up, it was the best stargazing session ever held by both ALP and Planetarium in terms of crowd participation!  The crowd who attended the session were numerous!  Imagine 9 telescopes setup with never ending queue line on each scope for the duration of the 3 hours the group had allocated to the public.  Overall estimated people who graced the opening event were pegged at 5000-6000+ !!!

They are looking forward to another great  stargazing session in the next 3 stargazing sessions that will be held on the following dates: February 22 and 24 at SM City Fairview and lastly one more time at Baywalk, Luneta!!!


For more images of this activity, please click here.



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