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ALP STARGAZING SESSION  REPORT

by James Kevin Ty 

Images by James Kevin Ty and Brian Davis

Finally!  After a long hiatus of observation at Caliraya, the weather outlook that morning gave the small group of hard-core  ALPers to decide to go along with their planned overnight stargazing session last November 10th. They were lead by ALP President James Kevin Ty , VP Jett Aguilar,  Brian Davis , Nathaniel Custodio and wife Tere. They departed from  Shell Alabang at around 4:00pm and  arrive at the site at around 7:30pm.  Along the way to the site, they encountered several mild drizzles but that didn't discourage them to proceed.

When they arrive at the site, the sky was 50% clear and everyone was excited as they could see lots of stars in the sky!  So after they had dinner, they started to setup their scopes.  Brian brought along his Orion 80ED refractor piggybacked on top of the Celestron C8 SCT on ASGT mount ; Nathaniel brought along his new William Optics Megrez 90FD refractor on CG-5  mount ;  James brought his TV-101 refractor on Vixen GP-DX mount while Jett brought his Takahashi TSA-102 refractor on Vixen GP-DX mount.

 

Comet 17/P Holmes was so bright under the dark Caliraya site that it was piece of cake to locate it :)  Telescope view of the comet reveal that the inner nucleus has elongated a bit more than previous night's observation and images. As everyone were casually setting up and enjoying the view of the comet, James didn't waste time setting up his equipment so he can start shooting the comet right away as he was worried seeing some thick clouds starting to rise from the western horizon.  It  proved to be the only object that he was able to image that night! From the eastern horizon, Brian was able to notice that there were rain clouds covering already the eastern horizon and told everyone to get prepared for it.  Initially, a light drizzle arrived and showered the group but that didn't forced them to pack up as everyone was optimistic clear skies will come late on the night.

Then the drizzle stopped and everyone removed their plastic coverings that serves as water protector of their equipment.  The group continue to calibrate their equipment for imaging  and as everyone is about to start their own work, hard rain suddenly poured on the group!  Everyone scampered to cover up their equipment to protect it from rain water as well as against short-circuiting their equipment!

After the hard rain, ALPers checked their equipment. The entire observing site were filled with water and muddy puddles :(

After a short 15 minutes pause of  hard rain, the second wave of strong rain downpour forced the group members to scamper to the cover their equipment again !!!

Everyone got really wet, but James was the most soaked ALPer that night as he didn't let the rain bother him to carefully check the coverings of his gears and thus was all wet from head to toe.  But he was still smiling a bit as his early attempt to image early paid off a bit as he is the only one to be able to image that night :) LOL  Even under a disastrous scenario, the group still prayed for the rain to stop and give them some consolation to image even under very damp situation.

But unfortunately, the weather was very cruel to the group and they got no choice later but to forced themselves to pack up as the area become very muddy and further more delays might make their car difficult to move because of possible mud trap arising from the hard downpour :(

James and Nathaniel still got some sense to smile about what happened to them.... As there is a saying "Tawanin mo ang iyong problema!"  :) LOL  WE WILL BE BACK THIS SATURDAY AGAIN !!!

 

As everyone put their stuff into the car without properly storing each item on their cases, they hurriedly left the area and they did encounter some mud traps but they manage to leave the site without much difficulty.

They later stopped over at the fastfood along the highway to gave some hot coffee and noodles to warm their cold , water soaked body before they went home.  They promised to come back again this coming Saturday for another date with the stars !!!

 

 

 

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