March 13/14, 2010 ALP Messier Marathon Open  Report
by Peter Benedict Tubalinal
Images by James Kevin Ty, Pejvac Parhizkari & Vincent Lao

The Astronomical League of the Philippines held its Philippine Messier Marathon 2010 Open last March 13, 2010,
at the dark skies of Caliraya, Quezon. Those who attended includes ALP President James Kevin Ty , Pejvak Parhizkari , ALP Messier Marathon 2010 Chairman Peter Benedict Tubalinal , Treasurer Henry So ,Christopher Lee , Sandra Torita , Crispin Riosa , Michael Cruspero , Kevin Dagunan , Vincent Lao , Dennis Buenviaje , Rose Lacson , Lou Balayan , Ellaine Pena ,  Tommy Tan , Prof. Jennifer Sy , Prof. Rosemarie Balatbat , Mark Joven Cortel , Reynen Rose Pausanos, Keem del Rosario , Jamilla Coching ,Camille Joy Segunto, Renz Pandez , Rose Ann Diagbel , Darwin Sy , Ranina Leonor , Carla Zapanta , Eunice Almeyda , Kenneth Medina , Jill Ireland Santiago , Edward Von A. Delesis , Roldan M. de Guia , Mark Anthony A. Honrade , Rosalyn Penol , Lucky Paelo C. Vega  and  Viridiana Balbuena Paragas .

Almost everybody waited for each other at the Shell Magallanes Station. First to arrive was Philippine Messier Marathon 2010 Chairman Peter Tubalinal. Shortly afterwards, the cars of Henry So and James Kevin Ty arrived, followed by the van of Christopher Lee and another van from PLM. Some took the time to take their lunch while
others bought food and snacks for take out. All four vehicles started its convoy at around 2:00pm. Another stop-by was made at Shell Alabang, where the car of Lou Balayan joined in on the convoy trip to Caliraya.

Along the way, patches of clouds were there however there were some areas where no clouds was present. As the convoy reached some parts of calamba, Peter spotted rainfall in a rice field which got them worried a little. The convoy reached the Caliraya stargazing site at around 5:00pm. Everyone got out of their vehicles and started stretching a little
after the long 3-hour trip. Peter then proceeded giving instructions to the messier marathoners. He explained the mechanics of how to observe the messier objects, and how to log them into the official log sheets that ALP provided. The site was divided into three portions namely: for participants (the marathoners), for the imagers, and for the free observing area. The marathon then was officially announced.

ALP Messier Marathon 2010 Chairman Peter Benedict Tubalinal giving final instructions to the Messier Marathoners.

Good luck and happy Messier hunting!

(L-R) ALPers Lou Balayan, Ellaine Pena & Vincent Lao

(L-R) ALPers Dennis Buenviaje, Henry So and Tommy Tan

(L-R) ALPers Kevin Dagunan, Michael Cruspero and Crispon Riosa

(R-L) ALPer Christopher Lee and Sandra Torita

ALP Messier Marathon 2010 Chairman Peter Benedict Tubalinal all set to find all the Messier objects.

ALP President James Kevin Ty posed beside his setup after the conclusion of his imaging session.

The marathoners then started to position themselves and took the time setting up in preparation for sundown. Others were busy also setting up their camera and telescopes for the imaging part, while still others just relaxed a little trying to do bird-hunting. While the sun was about to set, clouds started showing up from the eastern horizon. Some were worried that it might rain. As soon as the sun had set, the bright planet Venus became visible at the western horizon. Eventually, the cool and wet air was felt which rain took place afterwards. It lasted for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile,
other participants were still on the road, the students from the Rizal Technological University. On their way to Caliraya via Antipolo, Rizal, they experienced a breakdown in their van which slowed them down and got stuck in the area for a while.

Orion Setting by Pejvac Parhizkari

Orion and Canis Major Region

by Pejvac Parhizkari

Bright stars showed up after the rain had subsided and the marathon was on. Participants got themselves busy trying to locate for the messier objects. Then clouds popped in and out which interfered with the observations of the marathoners and imagers. From time to time rain just comes and goes. However, when the time struck at 10pm, a huge cloud rushed in and poured rain for over an hour. At 11:00pm the sky was 15 percent clear, only to be fully overcast just before 11:30pm where heavy rain followed. This was the rain that lasted for nearly two hours so everyone just stayed in their vehicles and tents and just rested and slept as they wait for the rain to end.
The skies then opened at 1:00am, and it was 90 to 95 percent clear! The marathon then continued on, as imagers were treated to a clear view of the summer milky way. As observers scanned through the skies, meteors and fireballs were making its own display as they streak across the sky. More than 30 meteors were seen that night.

M5 Globular Star Cluster in Scorpius

M8 Lagoon and M20 Triffid Nebula in Sagittarius

Summer Milky Way Scorpius / Sagittarius Region

by James Kevin Ty

Summer Milky Way Scorpius / Sagittarius Region

by Pejvac Parhizkari

Summer Milky Way

by Vincent Lao

Horizon Clouds

by Pejvac Parhizkari

Clear skies lasted until 5:00am, where clouds started showing up again in the eastern horizon. The crescent phase of the moon was a beautiful sight as it rose from the east, it was only two days before new moon.

Thin Crescent Moon

Thin Crescent Moon with Earthshine

At 6:00am, everyone started packing up their stuffs and had the usual astro pictorial. Finally, participants submitted their log sheets and everyone left the site as it marked the end of the messier marathon.

ALPers , guests and Messier Marathoners posed for posterity after the conclusion of the ALP Messier Marathon 2010 Open.

Wacky Shot !  See you all again in next year's Messier Marathon 2011 !

Below are the official tally which has been ranked based on the number of messier objects located:

Peter Benedict Tubalinal - 110
Christopher C. Lee - 70
Kevin Dagunan - 33
Michael Cruspero - 25
Crispin Riosa - 22
Edward Von A. Delesis - 20
Roldan M. de Guia - 20
Mark Anthony A. Honrade - 20
Lucky Paelo C. Vega - 20

Mark Joven A. Cortel - 18
Reynen Rose Pausanos - 18
Rose Ann Diagbel - 18
Jamila Coching - 18
Ranina Leonor - 18
Carla NiƱa Zapanta - 18
Viridiana Balbuena Paragas - 6


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