Stargazing Report


March 18, 2006

by James Kevin Ty


Last March 18, the ALP was invited by the faculty of Sta. Rosa Science060318-b.jpg (97587 bytes) and Technology High School to  conduct a stargazing and lecture session at their school. The group which compose of  ALP president James Kevin Ty,  Treasurer Allen Yu, Director Elena Moya, John Lawrence Uy, Dante Noche, Tommy Tan and Jonathan Alcartado and wife Ellen arrived at the school at around 8:00pm.

James brought his TV-101 refractor on GP-DX mount; Allen with his Skywatcher 6" f/5 reflector on EQ-4 mount, Dante with his 8"f/6 Dobsonian reflector, John Lawrence with his C8 on ASGT mount and Jonathan with his Orion 90mm refractor on EQ-4 mount.

The group had dinner before they started with the program proper.  The program started with the singing of the National Anthem and opening prayers. Then the emcee introduced each of the members of the ALP to the members of the school. Afterwards, ALP president was introduced as one of the guest speakers of the night.  James then give a short lively orientation of the what objects they will observe for the night.   James specially made a powerpoint presentation of the orientation so that the students can get a feel of what to expect later that night when viewing the night sky.   He shows some interesting constellation images as well as what objects from that constellation they will be observing, He also give some introduction on how perseverance can make one famous.  060318-e.jpg (40291 bytes)He specially mentioned ALP member Christopher Go of Cebu City on his recent monitoring of the normally white colored Oval BA into its present reddish coloration which was brought about by the intensification of the Jovian feature.

After his lecture, it was ALP director Elena's turn to give a good presentation on the Solar System.  She also use a powerpoint presentation which starts on our nearest star, the Sun , to the planets and also the beyond like the Kuiper Belt objects, Comets, Asteroids, etc.

The lecture ended at around 10:00pm with the students running towards the school ground to lined up on the different scopes that were setup there.  Among the early objects that were observed that night were the ringed planet Saturn, M41 star cluster, M42 Orion Nebula, double star Castor, M35 star cluster.

060318-g.jpg (57112 bytes)The Gibbous Moon was visible after rising above the school building at around 11:30pm.  The students were awed by the amount of details they could see on the lunar surface!  Not to be outdone was the planet Saturn which shows a magnificent ring system.  Several of its moons were also visible through low power.

Then it was Jupiter's time to get the attention it earned.  With the recent intensification of the Oval BA or fondly called the "Red, Jr.", this planet is now the most observed planet among amateur and professional astronomers alike. As most of the scopes were trained at Jupiter. It was evident that the Oval BA is hard to detect on small scopes to moderate scope.  The Great Red Spot (GRS) was clearly visible as well as its four Jovian satellites.  Another interesting Jovian event that was visible that morning was Io casting a dark shadow across the planet Jupiter!!! Even with a 4 inch refractor, the shadow was clearly visible.

After past midnight,  many deep sky objects were also observed 060318-p.jpg (79247 bytes) by the group such as open star clusters M6 , M7 ; globular star clusters M13, M22 ; nebula Lagoon Nebula (M8), M17 (Swan Nebula), double star Izar (Epsilon Bootes) . The planet Venus was the last object to be observed by them and it showed a thick crescent phase even at low power.

At around 6:00pm, the group took a traditional group shot before packing up their equipments and headed back to Manila.  Overall, the event was attended by more or less 300 students and they all went home satisfied by what the ALP members had shared to them last night.






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For more images of this activity, click here.



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