by Armando Lee
AstroCamp Observatory Service , SMBY , SM MOA

Last May 16, 2010,  at the  Astrocamp Observatory grounds, San Miguel by the Bay Park in SM Mall of Asia Complex in Pasay City,  Dr Armando Lee headed the other ALP Lunar Occultation expedition team. He and seven (7) other ALPers namely: his wife Myra Lee, Crispin Riosa, Michael Cruspero, Mark Ian Singson, Christopher Lee, Christopher Lu, and Wilbert Palma were joined by three (3) Ms Astronomy students from Rizal Technological Unversity (RTU) namely: Bon Delelis, Roldan De Guia, and Jimdel Macapagal  who helped in documenting the event and also in crowd control.

The ALPers there manned the following scopes for the visual observation of the guests of Astrocamp Observatory: Celestron C-11 on an Atlas Mount, 10inch Hardin Optics dobsonian, William Optics 66SD refractor on a photo tripod mount, and a GoScope 80 achromatic refractor on a photo tripod. There were 41 guests that came and were able to use these scopes alternately from sunset up to the end of the Lunar Occultation of Venus.

There were 2 scopes set for photographic purpose which are two Orion Apex127 Maksutovs – one on a Celestron ASGT mount and the other on an EQ2 mount. Dr Lee, Michael Cruspero and Christopher Lee manned the one on ASGT mount where they coupled it with a Canon350d at prime focus while the other Maksutov on EQ2 mount was coupled with a guest’s Canon7d also at prime focus.

Bon Delelis and Dr Lee set up a Celestron C90 coupled with a Neximage focal reducer, PC-164ex CCD video camera, KIWI-OSD-VTI, and a CanonZR200 miniDV to record a GPS time stamped video recording of the event. This set up has provides an accurate atomic time stamped video frames that can be used to study the event. Bon Delelis will submit a study report of this event to RTU as his planned Thesis for his Ms degree in Astronomy.

Christopher Lu did several afocal images using a digicam on the scopes assigned for visual viewing. He was able to get good images from this technique.

ALP PRO Armando Lee posed beside his Celestron C90 Mak with KIWI OSD VTI-GPS to record accurate timing.  RTU MS Astro students/ALPer Roldan de Guia and Bon Delelis  and Victor (at the back with C11) are also present.



Ms Astronomy students Dan De Guia and Jimdel Macapagal tried to cover the event using Dr Lee’s laptop webcam via to do a live webcasting of the activity but unfortunately the bandwidth of the wifi on the site proved very limited to allow live webcasting so they instead did a live news cast via which followers from other countries like Avivah Yamani of Indonesia followed and other amateur astronomer friends of ALP also followed during the occultation. It was an exciting new way of sharing the news live as it happens and ALP was the first to do this in the Philippines while covering a planetary lunar occultation!

The time came for the Lunar Occultation of planet Venus and the group was blessed with clear sky all throughout and the observation, documentation and recordings were successfully done by the group. Guests of the observatory were delighted to have joined the group of ALP astronomers and RTU Ms Astronomy students who facilitated in their understanding of the rare celestial event that they witnessed. People in the park were awestruck seeing a brilliant white object just above the thin crescent Moon which disappeared behind it and later reappeared after almost 41 minutes!

Ingress 7:36PM PST

Egress 8:16 PM PST

Ingress Video

Egress Video

The group was so successful that they were able to produce very good images and video recordings. In fact the Ingress image by Dr Lee, Michael Cruspero and Christopher Lee was featured the next day in as its front page Lunar Occultation image! The same image was featured in and Agrepres Foto also as their picture of the day for May 17, 2010. The following are the links to sites that featured the said image by Dr Lee, Michael Cruspero and Christopher Lee.

ALPers were made known internationally by the images produced from this event and this proves that Filipino amateur astronomers given with the right equipment can produce images and studies that are at par with international standards.

Another one for the books…and the ALP is set for the next event coming their way!

They would like to give thanks to the Admin of San Miguel by the Bay Operations Office and to the Victor Espartero – staff on duty of Astrocamp Observatory. They were responsible for good crowd control and guest assistance during the event.


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