Stargazing Report


March 25, 2006

by James Kevin Ty

Images by James Kevin Ty , Jupiter Image by Jett Aguilar


ALP finally had its first Caliraya stargazing session after 3 months of bad weather!  Members who attended the event are James Kevin Ty, Allen Yu, Jett Aguilar, Brian Davis and his son Alexander, Joseph Torres, Irving Raymundo, Dante Noche, Tommy Tan, Jonathan Alcartado and his wife Ellen, Raymund Sarmiento and Rafael Lunar.

The group left Manila more or less around 2:30pm and the group of 060325-a.jpg (72761 bytes)Allen, Tommy, Dante Noche, Rafael Lunar, Jonathan and Ellen, and Joseph arrived at the site at around 5:30pm, while the group composing of James, Brian and Alexander, Irving and Jett arrived a little later at around 6:15pm.  When James' group arrived, Allen and Co. had already set up  their telescopes.  As you can see, Allen has a school project to run a Messier Marathon that night so it's obvious he needs to start early to get as much Messier objects he can on the course of the night.

They then start ordering their dinner which the group finishing their dinner hurriedly so as not to waste anytime to catch up with the DSOs they would like to observe that night.  Raymund, who arrived later at around 7:00pm finished off the remaining   dinner food which was still a bountiful :) LOL

The rest of the guys then started to set up their scopes as well.  James and Jett as always, are concentrated on the imaging aspect whenever they are there at Caliraya because of its dark skies which permit them to image the dimmer Deep Sky Objects (DSOs).  First timers at Caliraya like Dante, Irving, Joseph, Brian, Tommy, and Rafael were amazed by the dark skies the site offers to them.  Some of them had become disoriented on how to star hop amid the numerous stars the darkness of the site offers :) LOL  But after a while, they all started to calm down and start observing their prepared targets.

James brought along his trusty TV-101 refractor on Vixen GP-D mount, 060325-g.jpg (75991 bytes)Allen was with his 6" f/8 dobsonian reflector as well as his Orion 80ED refractor on EQ-4 mount, Jett with his Celestron C8 SCT on Vixen GP-D mount, Brian with his Celestron C8 SCT on ASGT mount,  Irving with his Orion XT10 dobsonian reflector with DSC encoder, Dante brought his 8" f/7 Discovery dobsonian reflector , Tommy with his cute Orion ST80 short tube reflector, Joseph with his Celestron C114 Newtonian reflector on EQ-1 mount and last but not the least Raymund with his 10" f /4.5 Hardin Newtonian reflector on massive Atlas mount.

Seeing Allen doing the Messier Marathon all by himself, some fo them like Irving and Joseph started their own hunt for the Messier objects.  Instead of trying to log as much Messier objects, they hunt down the Messier objects one by one but at a slower pace as they also want to  get the most out of  the details of each objects. Equipped with  a big 10 inch scope and Televue Panoptic 27mm which give them a magnification of 45x with a true field of 1.5 degrees, they had an easy time star hopping from one Messier to another with relative ease :)

While the dark sky there offers the group a very good observing and 060325ngc3372stack-b.jpg (111249 bytes)imaging session, it is not without a problem.  As the night progressed, dew was very heavy so majority of the scopes there were equipped with dew heaters to let them have a continuous observing time without any interruptions.  They were already forewarned by James   about the heavy dewing at the site so most of them were all prepared on this nuisance matter :) LOL

James started his imaging target by imaging the NGC3372, more popularly known as Eta Carina Nebula.  This nebula is huge and it covers almost the entire photographic field of his TV-101 refractor with Canon 300D camera! Aside from Eta Carina, NGC 5139, the Omega Centauri globular star cluster was also imaged by James, Jett and Brian. Both Eta Carina as well as Omega Centauri were also observed the the other members because of its beauty!

As the night progressed, James also imaged NGC 5128 Centaurus A galaxy, NGC 4755 Jewel Box star cluster in Crux , M51 Whirpool Galaxy , and the cute little NGC 6826 Blinking Planetary Nebula. After midnight, James was also able to recover the still very dim periodic comet 73/P Schwasmann-Wachmann which at that time was shining at  a dim magnitude 12.4 . The comet showed a short stubby faint tail as well.

In a little while, James shouted at Allen  to know how many he had already logged and he shouted back that he had logged more or less around 70+ objects already.   Allen decided to set up away from the group as he need to concentrate on logging the M objects. Irving , on the other hand had already logged about 50 objects already too including some interesting NGC objects such as Ghost of Jupiter :)

After getting some rest, James had the time to walk across the observing field to get some info on whats happening on each members.  Jett just imaged only Eta Carina and Omega Centauri only as afterwards, he decided to concentrate on imaging the planet Jupiter as he already checked earlier that there will be an Io transit across Jupiter so he used the remaining time of the night to image Jupiter from about 1:00am-3:00am.  He later was able to make an animated gif of the Io Transit (See   picture below).   Raymund, on the other hand, had brought a new planetary camera in DMK which offers a better resolution with less noise. In the early morning time, Jett, Brian and Raymund   all set their cameras and scopes to Jupiter but at around 3:00am, all good things had to come to an end as haze and clouds started to cover the entire sky :(

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Below are some of the images James took during the course of the night: (For larger image, click on the picture below):

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NGC3372 Eta Carina Nebula in constellation Carina


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NGC 5128 Centaurus A Galaxy in constellation Centaurus


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M51 - Whirpool Galaxy in constellation Canes Venatici

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NGC 4755 Jewel Box Star Cluster  in constellation Crux

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Comet 73/P Schwassman-Wachmann recovered at magnitude 12.4 in constellation Bootes

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NGC 6828 Blinking Planetary Nebula in constellation Cygnus

After 30 minutes more and with the weather prospect not getting any better anymore, the group decided to call it a night and started packing up their scopes.  Allen then informed the group that he only managed to logged 80 Messier Objects only the entire evening :(  They also had a group shot before each one of them use that opportunity to get some sleep so they can leave early later.  Majority of the group members depart from Caliraya at around 6:30am.


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Individual observation reports from:

Allen Yu  /  Jett Aguilar  /  Dante Noche  / Irving RaymundoRaymund Sarmiento / Brian Davis


For more images of this activity, click here.



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