January 15, 2010 Partial Solar Eclipse Report
by James Kevin Ty
Images by James Kevin Ty

In the afternoon  of January 15, some members of the Astronomical League of the Philippines (ALP) went to fellow ALPer Armandfo Lee's Astro Camp Observatory at SM MOA San Miguel by the Bay (SMBY) to observe and image the partial solar eclipse. Maximum eclipse of 26.7% will occur at around 4:44pm. Among the members who participated were ALP President James Kevin Ty, VP Jett Aguilar, PRO Armando Lee, wife Mia & son Jason Lee , Dante Cruz , Dennis Buenviaje , Andrew Ian Chan , Berenice Viola Chan, Wilbert Palma , Michael Cruspero , Kevin Dagunan and Mary Grace Gulde , Crispin  "Mopper" Riosa and Ma. Theresa Masuay , Jennifer Sy, ; RTUA  stro students Rhayan Coronel , Paulne Pearl Divinagracia , Frank Kelvin Martinez , Lordnico Mendoza ; guests Bernice Qua , Charmaine Cobankiat and Iranian amateur astronomer Bobby Pejvak.

ALP President  James Kevin Ty & VP Jett Aguilar arrived at AstroCamp Observatory around 2:00pm ahead of ALP PRO Armand Lee and other ALPers.  They started to setup their telescope inside the dome perimeter and carefully checking the azimuth of the Sun to avoid any possible obstruction that may cover the Sun as it sets.

At around 3:00pm, Armand and other ALPers started to arrive at the site and quickly setup their equipment as well. James brought along his TV-101 refractor and Coronado PST-Ha on Vixen GP-D mount ; Jett with his Borg 77ED refractor on Tak Space Boy mount ; Armand with his WO Zenithstar 80ED refractor on Atlas mount ; Andrew with his Skywatcher 80ED refractor on EQ-1 mount; Bobby brought along WO Zenithstar 70ED and a 102mm Maksutov-Cassegrain on sturdy mount. Armand's observatory staffs setup a Coronado PST-Ha as well as WO 66SD refractor on sturdy tripod.

ALP VP Jett Aguilar check his system's focus and exposure while waiting for 1st contact. He brought his setup, Canon 50D DSLR on Borg 77ED refractor on Tak Space Boy mount.

ALPers as well as RTU astro students were there to document the eclipse.

ALP PRO Armand Lee posed beside his setup, Canon 350D DSLR on WO Zenithstar 80ED refractor on Atlas mount.

ALPer Andrew Ian Chan posed beside his setup, Canon 500D DSLR on Skywatcher 80ED refractor on EQ-1 mount.

"Wow! Grabe! Its so hot! :) LOL"

ALPer Bernice Viola Chan used a Solar Viewer to safely observe the partial solar eclipse.

ALP President James Kevin Ty posed beside his setup, Canon 500D DSLR on TV-101 refractor and Coronado PST-Ha on GP-D mount.

ALPers and guests take a look at the eclipsed Sun through the camera viewfinder of a solar filter equipped telescope.

ALPer Wilbert Palma carries a portable netbook computer to do a live broadcasting of the ALP partial solar eclipse activity at AstroCamp Observatory.  Want to buy a netbook computer? :)

ALPers and guests took time out to chat with fellow members on the ongoing eclipse.

ALPer Berenice Viola looked at the eclipsed Sun through a Coronado PST-Ha.

ALP's Iranian guest amateur astronomer Bobby Pejvak  imaged the eclipse with his Canon 5D Mark II DSLR on WO Zenithstar 70ED refractor and 102mm Maksutov-Cassegrain telescope on sturdy tripods.

ALP Astro-imagers beside their setups.

James is all smiles as he look at the eclipsed Sun through a solar viewer.  Wonderful eclipse!

(L-R) ALPers Dennis Buenviaje, Dante Cruz , VP Jett Aguilar and Berenice Viola Chan.

Students and onlookers observe the eclipse through the camera big 3" LCD screen after every shot.  One of the safest type of solar observation technique.

They calibrated their time with their GPS to get accurate time to be used to determine the first contact time. AT around 3:49pm, the Moon made a small nip on the 5 o'clock position  and all of them started to fire away at the eclipsed Sun!  Also a nice view to the eclipse is the presence of large AR 11040 sunspot group which shows a beautiful umbra and penumbral structure :)  Since the sunspot group is situated a little north, the Moon started to cover or eclipse it at around 4:09pm.

As the eclipse progressed, more or more people started to flock the observatory perimeter to inquire about the eclipse.  ALP President James took time off between exposures to let some onlookers get a chance to view the eclipse with some of his extra solar viewers.  Some of the people opted to wait for an image to come out of the camera LCD screen to see the eclipse safely :)

With the clouds covering the Sun time over time, James decided to forgo imaging through the PST-Ha and concentrated on white light full disk imaging at the TV-101 refractor.  Maximum eclipse of 26.7% occurred at around 4:44pm.

As the Sun gets lower and lower, exposure become a big problem for James as well as the rest of the imagers at the site as using the Baader 5.0 filter becomes very dim  and had to alternately use  the photographic 3.8 filter to get a properly exposed shot.  Removing the filter tends to be too bright so James had to contend with using slower shutters on some occasions to get a properly exposed image.  They had to wait till around 5:40pm before removing all the filters to image the magnificent setting eclipsed Sun!  At this time, the Sun was devoid of any thick clouds so members had a great time imaging the Sun till it got covered by the very thin mountain slope of Corregidor.  One good extra bonus for the ALPers was the presence of Cloud Top Green Flash which was describe by Atmospheric Optics expert Les Cowley as the 2nd variant of green flash effect called "Cloud Top Flash." Les commented: "This is possibly a 'cloud-top' flash. There are two broad flash types, one is the classical Jules Verne flash when the the last sliver of sun disappears beneath the horizon. The other, much harder to see visually but more often photographed, is where the top of the sun flashes green while much of the disk is still above the horizon. The cloud-top flash is a variant of the second type and it might be caused by an inversion layer associated with the cloud top. We do not fully understand them!"

As the Sun is setting midway toward the horizon, a sweet , romantic couple riding on a small boat pass in front of the setting Sun to give ALP imagers a chance to get an "Obra Maestra" shot and one of the lucky imager, ALP President James Kevin Ty , got featured at front page of spaceweather.com January 16 , 2010.

Before packing up their things, ALPers posed for some group shots to celebrate a successful documentation of the partial solar eclipse!

Group Shot

Wacky Shot !!!

After an exhaustive but enjoyable ALP activity, ALPers went to nearby President Restaurant in SMBY to have a delicious dinner!


Partial Solar Eclipse Photo Gallery taken by other ALPers

Be a fan of ALP Facebook Page !!!

Live webcast of ALP Partial Solar Eclipse Observation  at AstroCamp Observatory

AstroCamp Observatory Twitter Page




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