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by James Kevin Ty

Images by Allen Yu, Alexander Loinaz and Jett Aguilar

The Astronomical League of the Philippines held a 061119_yu-a.jpg (31670 bytes)special meeting at the Manila Planetarium last November 19.  More than 60 members and guests were present during the meet. Among the ALP members who attended the event were James Kevin Ty, Charito Ty and their son KC, Allen Yu, Alice Villa-Real, Rich Pijuan, Jett Aguilar,  Dante Cruz, Alexander Loinaz, Alfonso Uy, Christopher Go and wife , John Nassr and wife Mae, Maximo Sacro, Melchor Pilones, Bel Pabunan, Joel Paul Munoz, Peter Benedict Tubalinal, Hans Gideon Cerdenia,  Alberto Lao , John Lawrence Uy, Joseph Gutierrez, Michelle Lampa, Kristy Anne Abello, Rafael Lunar , Greten Estella, and Dennis Llante.

Among the guests who attended the meeting were Elmor Escosia of PAGASA, Angelito Sing, former PAS members Fritz Barroquillo, Johnny Quinto and wife, Mike Nealaga and family, Joel Limcangco and family , Jonathan Selisana ; PAS members Christopher Lee, Lawrence and Matthew Esteban, Aileen Lynelle Espina , George Toribio and Bamm Gabriana ; members from PLM and UP Astrosoc like Paulo, April, Chin Palafox and  her dad, Myo and many more.

061119_yu-z07.jpg (58864 bytes)The meeting was originally slated to start at 1:30pm but was adjusted to 2:00pm as guest speakers Edwin Aguirre and Imelda Joson got caught in the traffic jam at the Ortigas area. The couple arrived at the Manila Planetarium at around 2:15pm and were met with a warm welcome by members and old friends who didn't mind the extra wait just to meet with them.

The program started with ALP VP Alice Villa-Real leading the opening ceremony by singing the National Anthem.  It was followed by an opening prayer by her as well.  She then started the main program by introducing ALP special guests of honor Edwin Aguirre of Sky and Telescope and her wife Imelda Joson of Joson Images. Imelda was the first speaker of the meeting and she made a powerpoint presentation on the topic "Astrophotography - Then and Now."  She started out by touching on how astrophotography started out with film emulsions and then gradually  moved along the years to the advanced CCD imaging techniques.  Along the way, webcams were also utilized by amateurs to make video streams and stacked them061119_loinaz-e.jpg (29751 bytes) into one good still image which some rival or at par with the images taken by professional observatories.  One good success story of using webcam cameras was that of our very own Christopher Go of Cebu City.  He use webcam format videos images and stacked them into one good high resolution image.  His constant experience on using a webcam had lead him to discover the color change on the Oval BA in the planet Jupiter which was later famously dubbed "Red Spot, Jr." After her lecture, an open forum was entertained to accommodate some questions that were raised by  the audience to Imelda on his lecture. Afterwards , a 15 minute break was done to let the next speaker prepare as well as let audiences get some rest before the second lecture.

Edwin Aguirre was then introduced as the next speaker of the day.  Like Imelda, Edwin also made a powerpoint presentation which was entitled "Behind the Scene at Sky and Telescope and their Astro Adventures."   He started out by explaining how the magazine started out with a small company and   grown into  a big company as the years gone by.  He also show to the audience the  many cover design changes  Sky and Telescope magazine did to improve its design and quality.  Edwin also explain the different departments the magazine have and who is in charge of each department as well as how each issue was made from scratch to finished product every month.

After the interesting guided lecture tour by Edwin on the Sky061119_loinaz-f.jpg (29329 bytes) and Telescope company, he  then share their astro adventures around the world specially chasing solar eclipses. He shows lots of images of their trips which fascinated the crowd specially on the June 29, 2006 Total Solar Eclipse in Salloum, a border town in Egypt, 3 miles away from Libya.  The trip also included ALP editor in chief Francisco "Jun" Lao and they were treated with a good 4 minutes of totality.  Edwin then announce that they will be meeting up with members of the ALP at the July 22, 2009 Total Solar Eclipse to be headed by current ALP president James Kevin Ty either in Wuhan or Shanghai, China. At the end of the lecture, another open forum was made for the audience to ask Edwin questions about his lecture and it was also another good correspondence  between the speaker and the audiences.

Afterwards, an awarding ceremony was made to bestow the 1st Father Victor Badillo Astronomy Service Award to both Edwin L. Aguirre and Imelda B. Joson for their unselfish work and dedication to the development, progress and promotion of astronomy both in the local and international levels. It was a happy ceremony as both of them appreciated that even after a 15 years span of time, local astronomy still remembers their great deeds and dedications in promoting astronomy in the Philippines.

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Lastly, ALP president James Kevin Ty then lead the closing 061119_yu-z23.jpg (28638 bytes)remarks by thanking both Edwin and Imelda for being the guest speakers of the day and also announced that both Edwin and Imelda were given honorary memberships to the ALP as a sign of respect to both of them for their great deeds. They  eventually become the society's  number 73rd and 74th members. He also  thanked them for patiently guiding him specially during his early years in astronomy and without their good support and inspiration, he wont be where he is right now.  He then proceeded to thank everyone who attended the meeting and making the event a very successful and memorable event indeed.

Afterwards, Edwin and Imelda were flocked by ALPers and guests to have their autographs as well as picture taken with them for souvenir. They later had a group photo taken at the entrance of the Manila Planetarium for posterity.

After the event, the couple were treated by the ALP for a good dinner at Terriyaki Boy in T. Morato and later at UCC Coffee Shop to continue their discussions on the issues of astronomy as well as future activities of the society.

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For more images of the event, click here.


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