by James Kevin Ty
Johndel Beach Resort , Nasugbu , Batangas

Last May 16, 2010,  ALP President James Kevin Ty together with fellow ALPers Andrew Ian Chan and Babak Parhizkari went to Nasugbu , Batangas to document the Venus Occultation by the Thin Crescent Moon. Aside from Nasugbu, ALP also have 2 more observing stations which were in Astrocamp Observatory in SM Mall of Asia as well as in Candaba , Pampanga.

James decided to lead the Nasugbu team so that ALP  will have alternative sites as well as get better chances to observe this event successfully  instead of just one observing site. Also, the reason to pursue the Nasugbu site is because of the low latitude reappearance of Venus from the bright limb of the Moon which was a bit low at 3 degrees in Manila.

In Nasugbu, the reappearance is also very low at 2 degrees above horizon. The good advantage here is that  Venus and Moon will set at the sea line  instead of mountains and the plus factor here is that we were able to get an additional 2 minutes more before Venus exits the bright lunar limb. Venus exits at 8:18pm Manila Time compare to Manila's 8:16pm.

Anyway, they depart Manila at around 11:00am and arrive in Tagaytay at around 1:00pm. They then had lunch at Terriyaki Boy before proceeding to Nasugbu, Batangas. They arrived in Nasugbu at around 2:45pm and stayed at Johndel Beach Resort which James  had several occultation observing events there before whenever  the need of a clear out western horizon.

They checked in at the 3rd floor so that they will have easier time to transport their imaging equipment to the roof deck with convenience later. Inside the room, their astro imaging equipment lay scattered out all over the floor and beds to ensure all items needed area are intact accounted for.

At around 5:30pm, they started to setup their equipment and try to image the elusive green flash but unfortunately, tough luck for them as no green flash was visible when  the Sun got flattened out in the sea horizon :( Anyway, better luck next time . For this event, James brought along his  trusty TV-101 refractor and GP-DX mount. He also installed a Digital 8 video camera so that he can document both in still and video mode. Andrew, on the other hand brought along his Skywatcher 80ED refractor on his new GP mount equipped with Sky Sensor 2000-PC. Babak brought his WO Z70 ED refractor as well as Skywatcher 102mm Maksutov-Cassegrain telescope which he will install on his highly portable Takahashi Sky Patrol 2 mount. Initially, James plan to use his Kenko Sky Memo for this event, but since he still doesn't have a lighter ED refractor such Megrez 72FD or the one he like most, Canon EF 100-400mm F/4.5-5.6 IS L lens. He decided not to bring it and use his old previous mount system instead.

While the Sun is setting, Babak called our attention and pointed to planet Venus which was several degrees above the 2.5 day old thin crescent Moon! It was a very beautiful sight to behold as Venus got closer and closer to the dark limb of the Moon! They started to check their exposures to get a good balance exposure of the Moon with Earthshine as well as Venus without over exposing too much to make the planet Venus become a blob of light.

At around 7:30pm, they started to monitor Venus as it gets closer and closer to the dark limb of the Moon. At the same time, a lot of James'  friends and colleague started to call his mobile to ask what the bright star that is above the Moon. He told them it was planet Venus and they were quite surprised and excited when he told them the planet Venus will disappear suddenly at around 7:36pm :) For their area in Nasugbu, estimated time of Venus disappearance (Ingress) will be at 7:36pm and exits behind the bright limb of the Moon at around 8:18pm. True enough, Venus disappeared exactly at 7:36pm and reappeared at 8:18pm! They  synchronize theirr watch and camera clock with James' GPS unit. It also provided them their  current location at 14.0716 North and 120.6254 East. Their final contact timing time of Ingress was 7:36:07pm and Egress at 8:18:11pm.

7:36:01 PM PST

7:36:07 PM PST

8:18:09 PM PST

8:18:11 PM PST

Ingress Video Egress Video

After the event, Babak and Andrew tried testing their new mounts on starts and DSOs to check tracking accuracy. Before they packed up, they had their traditional group shot taken and when they arrived back to their airconditioned room, they cool down their body then took a good shower and started to load their stuffs back to the car. Since the restaurant was already closed at 10:30pm, they had a very late dinner at Jollibee Tagaytay before going back to Manila.

James beside his trusty TV-101 refractor on Vixen GP-DX mount with Digital 8 video camera.

Andrew beside his Skywatcher 80ED refractor on Vixen GP mount.

Babak beside his Canon 5D Mark 2 with EF100mm 2.8 lens on Takahashi Sky Patrol 2 mount.




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