National Astronomy Week Stargazing Report


February 25, 2006

by James Kevin Ty


The Astronomical League of the Philippines, in joint cooperation 060225naw-h.jpg (27753 bytes)with the National Museum Planetarium held a joint stargazing session at the Rajah Soliman Park, Luneta to commemorate the closing of the National Astronomy Week last February 25 (Saturday). ALPers who were present to support the event were President James Kevin Ty,  Allen Yu,  Rich Pijuan, Brian Davis, Dante Noche and wife Rosie, John Lawrence Uy, Tommy Tan, Joseph Torres, Maximo Sacro, Hans Gideon Cerdenia, Michael John Lopez,  Janice Rochelle Ponce, Jonathan Alcartado, Irving Raymundo , and Jomar Lacson. The National Museum- Planetarium core consist of curator Mechor Pilones, Bel Pabunan, Nel Lagda,   Maxi Zabanal, Liza  Quitlong, Mary Ann Ramirez and Racquel Garcia.  The Philippine Astronomical Society was present also that night as a guest organization  to celebrate the event as well.

A total of 13 telescopes 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 ,  John Lawrence  and Brian brought their Celestron 8" SCT on ASGT EQ-5 equatorial mount, Dante brought his 8" f/6 Discovery Dobsonian telescope. Planetarium group brought along their 8" Celestron C8 on fork equatorial mount.  The PAs , on the other hand, brought along an Orion 5" reflector, 12" dobsonian  reflector, while PAS' Dr. Armando Lee brought along 2 units of Orion Apex 127 on EQ-1 equatorial mount, Meade 8"SCT on LXD-75 equatorial mount, Nexstar 8 SCT, and his new toy, a Celestron 80ED refractor on ASGT EQ-5 equatorial mount.

The event was supposed to be staged at the Baywalk  060225naw-b.jpg (31977 bytes)like last February 19th but there was a conflict of the Mayor's permit with the group of Saganang Ani Foundation which was also supposed to cover that venue as well.   Max Sacro and ALP President James Kevin Ty had to discuss the matter together with their group to make a compromise which lead to our transfer of venue to the other side of the Baywalk area which is the Rajah Soliman Park.  To help compromise our decision to let them have the original area, their group which also has a stage setup on the other side of the park decided to close down the inner road to let us have the entire front of the park for our use.  Honestly, the decision to transfer has its advantages as well.   First the group now has a bigger space for all the 13 telescopes to be setup with still lots of room to spare thus no cramming. Secondly, there are now no more obstruction of trees from east to west unlike the original designated Baywalk area side.   Nevertheless, it seems that the last minute change of venue is a blessing in disguise after all :)

The group started to set up their telescopes around the area and in an instant, long queue of people started to line up on each telescope and initially, most of the telescope on the field were pointing to the ringed planet Saturn as there were lots of patchy clouds that try to spoil the event.  As the night goes by, the sky got cleared of clouds and now more celestial objects were added to the list such as the Great Orion Nebula in constellation Orion, Beehive star cluster in Cancer, Pleiades star cluster in Taurus, bright star Sirius were observed by the group.

With all of the 13 telescopes having a long unending queue 060225naw-q.jpg (30830 bytes)line the whole night, crowd estimate were pegged at around 6000+ .  The event was as fruitful as the opening night at the Baywalk side last February 19th.   At around 9:50pm, the PNP chief inspector of the Baywalk Area dropped by to check on our permit to stage the event.  After checking the necessary valid permit, James invited Chief Inspector Respes to tale a peek of Saturn through the society's 8" SCT.   He was delighted at what he saw and he told him that was the first time he saw the ringed planet in his life except on books and magazine.  He later told James he is bringing his wife and daughter to also take a peek at Saturn and he told him they are all welcome to view through all telescope during the night :)

At around 10:30pm, the group started to pack up their stuffs and the entire group composed of ALP and Planetarium as well as guest organization PAS had a group pictorial for posterity to commemorate the closing ceremony of the National Astronomy Week. Afterwards, the Joint ALP / Planetarium group members also had a group shot taken to commemorate  the successful joint project by the two group.

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For more images of this activity, please click here.



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