ALP February 28, 2009 Stargazing Session Report
by:  James Kevin Ty
Images by 
James Kevin Ty, Henry So, Nathaniel Custodio and Vincent Lao


Last February 28, members of the Astronomical League of the Philippines (ALP)  that included ALP president James Kevin Ty, treasurer Henry So, auditor Brian Davis, Dennis Buenviaje, Nathaniel Custodio & Family , Francis Sarmiento, & Joel Paul Munoz went to Caliraya , Laguna to observe and image under its dark skies.

ALPers Brian Davis, Nathaniel Custodio & family, and Joel Munoz arrived earlier at the site and started to setup their equipment.  ALPers James Kevin Ty, Henry So,  Dennis Buenviaje, Francis Sarmiento & Vincent Lao arrived a little later at around 8:00pm. The sky that night was not bad compared to previous treks to the site over the past months.  But wind was a bit strong as well that night and had forced some ALPers to do visual observations instead of imaging.

James brought along his TV-101 refractor on Vixen GP-D mount ; Henry brought his Meade 6" Newtonian reflector on LXD75 mount ; Brian with his 127mm refractor on EQ- mount and Celestron C8 on ASGT mount ; Nathaniel with his Megrez 90FD refractor on Vixen GP-D2 mount ; Joel with his Vixen VMC200 and WO Megrez 72FD refractor on HEQ-5 mount ; Vincent with his Orion Starblast 130 reflector on EQ-1 mount while Francis and Dennis used 10x50 binoculars to scan the night sky.

ALPer James had to kneel to the ground just to image the beautiful Comet Lulin as it was almost at the zenith that time.

ALPer Joel is all smile with his new astro-setup gears.

ALPer Nathaniel seen here all set to image the Rosette Nebula with his setup.

ALPer Brian shelters inside his van as the wind was strong and cold that evening.

ALPer Vincent : "Arrrh! There goes my dark adapted vision!!! "

ALPer Henry observing with his new scope with improvised rock counterweight :) LOL He forgot to bring his counterweights but if there's a will, there's a way ! :) LOL

Some of the objects that were imaged that night were the Rosette Nebula in Monoceros , Eta Carina Nebula in Carina, Orion Nebula in Orion and last but not the least the beautiful Comet Lulin C/2007 N3! The  comet was a beautiful object to observe even with a pair of binoculars and its long and bright anti-tail was obviously seen, as well as a fainter ion tail.  ALPers Francis and Dennis had a great time refreshing their minds on how to navigate the night sky with the use of star maps as well as a pair of binoculars.  Henry, due to his haste to join ALPers at the Shell Magallanes forgot to bring his mount's counterweights!!! Amid the worst situation, he was able to  look around the site for 2 big rocks for him to tape to the counterweight shaft :) LOL 

Crescent Moon and Planet Venus by Vincent Lao

M42  Great Orion Nebula by Vincent Lao

NGC 2244 Rosette Nebula by Nathaniel Custodio

Constellation Orion by Henry So

Comet Lulin C/2007 N3 by Nathaniel Custodio

Comet Lulin C/2007 N3 by James Kevin Ty

The sky was relatively okay with some small patches of clouds passing by until around 12:30am when thick clouds started to cover up the sky :(  ALPer Brian decided to call it quits that evening because his setup although massive was no match for the strong wind. :(  He left left at around 1:30am after packing up his stuffs.  James and Co decided to take a break and get some sleep as James was planning to conserve his energy to image later in the morning on objects such as the Scorpius /  Sagittarius  region. At around 3:00am after some short nap, they glanced out only to find the sky got worst as more clouds covered the sky :(  Amid this situation, Henry asked the group if he might also leave early as he has some errands to do in the morning.  James, Dennis , Francis and Vincent decided to pack up as well and headed home leaving Nathaniel and Joel at the site.  Nathaniel waited until his family were awake at around 4:00am and left as well.  Joel, on the other hand,  had to wait until morning for the radiator epoxy he applied on his car's radiator to fully cure before leaving the site.

Nevertheless, most of the group members were still satisfied with the session and hope to return again on March 28 in which another ALP activity , The 3rd ALP Philippine Messier Marathon Open will be staged at Caliraya as well.


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