ALP April 12, 2008 Stargazing Session
by James Kevin Ty
Images by James Kevin Ty and Vincent Lao


Last April 12, some members of the Astronomical League of the Philippines (ALP) that include ALP president James Kevin Ty, Observation chairman Peter Benedict Tubalinal,  Edgar Ang, Alexander Loinaz, Vincent Lao, Rodney Jovin Velasco and new member Hernando Bautista went to PAGASA Observatory in UP-Diliman to have a casual stargazing session.

Since the roof deck of the observatory were littered with paints as well as dismantled parts of the 6" refractor and its mount that was to be repainted, they decided to just setup at the observatory ground.  James brought along a 4" refractor while the rest of the group members brought their binoculars with them.  Since many of them were newbies, observation chairman Peter Benedict Tubalinal as well as James took time to teach the new members on how to navigate he night sky as well as how to use the star map.  While Peter concentrated on teaching the newbies on how to use the star map as well as locate deep sky objects using their binoculars, James decided not to image that night and instead let the members observe through it to appreciate the heavenly objects that night.

James initially show the members the magnificent ringed planet Saturn.  It was a beauty as newbie Hernando was surprised to see good details on the planet that he asked James if he would be able also to observe it from his soon to arrive Nexstar 6i and 8i :) LOL  After all the members got to view Saturn, James pointed the scope to the majestic Quarter Moon which was starting to set in the western horizon.  Tremendous amount of lunar details were present at the lunar terminator region that fascinated them to the point the newbie Vincent Lao can't help but to point his point and shoot digital camera at the Moon and Saturn :)

Alexander Loinaz having a great time observing Saturn while Vincent Lao and Hernando Bautista eagerly awaiting their turn :)


Rodney Velasco observe the lunar terminator while Peter teach the other members on how to locate some bright deep sky objects (DSO).

Peter used a green laser pointer to help  members locate some bright DSOs with their binoculars.

Alexander Loinaz is all smile as he like other ALPers enjoyed the stargazing session that night at PAGASA Observatory.

Quarter Moon image by Vincent Lao

Saturn image by Vincent Lao

As the night goes by, they were also able to observe through the telescope objects such as globular clusters Omega Centauri , M5 and M3; galactic star clusters M6, M7, M44 Beehive, NGC 6231, double stars Castor and Albireo ; Planetary M57 Ring Nebula and last but not the least the giant planet Jupiter and its 4 Jovian moons.  Bright galaxies were attempted that night such as M51 Whirpool Galaxy and M81/M82 Galaxy pair but they were not visible because of light pollution as well as mild haze that totally erased any hint of smudge that can be seen normally.

The group finally decided to call it a night and packed up at around 2:30am.  They had a group picture taken before they left the site and the newbies had a great time and encouraged James to do more urban stargazing session in the days to come for them so that they can learn to navigate the night sky faster.


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