ALP November 09, 2008 Meeting Report
by James Kevin Ty & Dr. Armando Lee
Images by James Kevin Ty
Last November 9, members of the Astronomical League of the Philippines (ALP) held their monthly meeting at the Manila Planetarium. Members who were present were James Kevin Ty , wife Charito and son Kendrick Cole (KC) Ty, Dr. Armando Lee, Alfonso Uy, Brian Davis, Angie Tan, Melisa Bata, Henry So, Vincent Lao, Andrew Ian Chan, Bel Pabunan, Tommy Tan, Hernando Bautista, Edgar Ang, Nathaniel Custodio, Theodore Marc Gutierrez and Aran Lester Rueda. Since it was raining, solar observation was cancelled.
Meeting proper started at around 3:00pm with ALP president James Kevin Ty introducing Dr. Armando Lee as the main lecturer of that afternoon. He will be tackling on the SETI (Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence) topics.
Before he lectured on the main topic SETI, he first gave two introductory lectures namely:
1.) Nature and Evolution of Habitability – which deals with the concept
of the Sun’s habitable zone and its factors like the planets’ distance from the Sun, planetary size, and atmospheric loss process. Venus’s runaway greenhouse was compared to the Earth’s well tempered and seemingly balanced atmosphere which even with the presence of greenhouse gases still able to maintain a habitable status. Mars’s past and present condition in the context of habitability was also discussed by him in a very simple and easily comprehensible manner.
2.)Search for Habitable Worlds – which deals with the different techniques employed in detecting other solar systems (extrasolar systems and their planets). He mentioned the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and the Space Interferometry Mission (SIM) which will be used to search for Earth-like worlds from the different Extra-Solar Systems that will be discovered and have been discovered so far. Special mentioned was made about the astronomical biosignatures that the spectroscopic analyses of the future space telescopes like the Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF) will be using for as biomarkers in their search for possible habitable worlds.
Dr Armando Lee then proceeded to the main topic which is SETI – the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence. He touched first the Fermi paradox where he also tried to present different possible answers to the problem of why we have not yet made contact with any ETs so far. He presented different ideas of why and how this is so. The rational for searching ET is also discussed. This he gradually did by presenting the Drake’s equation and the famous optimistic and pessimistic computation made by different scientists like the two well known and celebrated figures – Frank Drake and Carl Sagan. He also described what we might expect for a theoretical galactic colonization of an advanced ET civilization citing the possible reasons and how their strategy might be. From here Dr Lee proceeded to how the present SETI projects are being done and what are the presently accepted protocol to be followed in case we do find a signal from an ET. Although it was a lengthy lecture, ALPers nevertheless enjoyed it a lot as shown by the numerous positive reactions and even intriguing questions and comments thrown in by the members present there. A total of one and a half hours of fascinating and exciting lecture which made everyone in the meeting think how promising and exciting yet dangerous SETI could be to humanity. He concluded the lecture by suggesting more readings on the matters discussed and by promising more exciting topics to come from him like Space Exploration and Interstellar Travel which he plans to give in the coming monthly meetings.
Afterwards, the much awaited ALP 5th anniversary souvenir program was
distributed by ALP Ways and Means Chairperson Melisa Bata to members who were present at the meeting. Almost all members who gotten their copy said that is was well-made and professional looking.
Then ALP President James Kevin Ty and Membership Chairperson Angie Tan then discussed with fellow members on their upcoming December meeting which will coincide with their Christmas Party as well as Election of Officers for the year 2009. Some of the agreed suggestions are as follows:
1) The December meeting / Christmas party / election will be held at the Planetarium for this year.
2) Potluck dinner, which means members are encourage to bring some food to share with fellow members.
3) There will be no exchange gift for this year, a tradition ALP always had for the past 5 years.
4) Since we are in constant need to use a LCD projector every meeting, ALP Treasurer suggested that we will setup a fund raising program starting this December for members who would want to help out the organization to buy its own projector. This is not a compulsory act and not forced to members to fund the project. This project are set for those who want to help the ALP get its very own LCD projector. Names of those who help on the project will be listed in our ALP history. Any amount will be greatly appreciated and this project will continue till we were able to get enough funds to buy an LCD projector,
5) ALP will have a casual stargazing session setup at the front grounds of the Planetarium to compliment the Christmas party and meeting.
6) Suggestions are welcome to spice up the Christmas party. Please text to our Membership Chairperson Angie Tan at (0917) 3265577.
Lastly, for this year's election of directors, 5 director slots will be up for re-election and they are as follows:
1) Lacson , Jose Mari
2) Pijuan , Rich
3) Tan , Angie
4) Ty, James Kevin
5) Villa-Real , Alice
New nominees for directorship ,who has at least been a member of the organization for 2 years , attended 4 meetings & 4 stargazing session for this year, are as follows:
1) Ang, Edgar
2) Custodio , Nathaniel
They will be asked if they are willing to accept the nomination this week to finalize the nominees for this year's election. The meeting ended at around 6:00 pm.
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