August 8, 2010 ALP Monthly Meeting  Report
by James Kevin Ty & Christopher Louie Lu

Last August 8, 2010, members of the Astronomical League of the Philippines (ALP) held their monthly meeting at the Manila Planetarium at 3:00pm.  Members who attended were ALP President James Kevin Ty and son Kendrick Cole (KC) Ty, Myra Lee  and son Jason Lee, Andrew Ian Chan,  Belen Pabunan, Vincent Lao,  Christopher Louie Lu , Kevin Dagunan, Crispin Riosa, Dante Cruz, Christopher Lee, Desiree del Rosario, Marc Joven Cortel, Kristine Valdez, guests Monica Morales, Jamilan Coching, Maricon Belisano and Professor Albert Mirami.

The meeting started at around 3:30pm with ALP President James Kevin Ty introducing ALPer Christopher Louie Lu  as the lecturer of the day.  He discussed on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).  The Large Hadron Collider is the largest highest energy particle accelerator in he world. Large due to its size (approximately 27 km in circumference), Hadron because it accelerates protons or ions, which are hadrons, and Collider because these particles form two beams travelling in opposite directions, which collide at four points where the two rings of the machine intersect. The facility is located in between the borders of France and Switzerland and is build underneath the Earths crust (100m average).

The LHC re-uses the tunnel that was built for CERN’s previous big accelerator. The underground tunnel was the best solution to house a 27‑km circumference machine because it is cheaper to excavate a tunnel rather than acquire the land to build at the surface and the impact on the landscape is reduced to a minimum. In addition, the Earth’s crust provides good shielding for radiation.

The LHC is co-funded, built and maintained by the European Organization for Nuclear Research or  CERN.  It was designed by 10k scientists and engineers from over a 100 countries in collaboration with a 100 universities and laboratories around the world. At present, its Member States are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. India, Israel, Japan, the Russian Federation, the United States of America, Turkey, the European Commission and UNESCO have Observer status.

The main goal of the LHC is for our current understanding of the Universe which is still incomplete. The Standard Model of particles and forces summarizes our present knowledge of particle physics. The Standard Model has been tested by various experiments and it has proven particularly successful in anticipating the existence of previously undiscovered particles. However, it leaves many unsolved questions, which the LHC will help to answer.

            } The Standard Model does not explain the origin of mass, nor why some particles are very heavy while others have no mass at all. The answer may be the so-called Higgs mechanism. According to the theory of the Higgs mechanism, the whole of space is filled with a ‘Higgs field’, and by interacting with this field, particles acquire their masses.

            } The Standard Model does not offer a unified description of all the fundamental forces, as it remains difficult to construct a theory of gravity similar to those for the other forces.

            } Cosmological and astrophysical observations have shown that all of the visible matter accounts for only 4% of the Universe. The search is open for particles or phenomena responsible for dark matter (23%) and dark energy (73%). A very popular idea is that dark matter is made of neutral — but still undiscovered — supersymmetric particles.

            } The LHC will also help us to investigate the mystery of antimatter. Matter and antimatter must have been produced in the same amounts at the time of the Big Bang, but from what we have observed so far, our Universe is made only of matter. Why? The LHC could help to provide an answer.

            } In addition to the studies of proton–proton collisions, heavy-ion collisions at the LHC will provide a window onto the state of matter that would have existed in the early Universe, called ‘quark-gluon plasma’. When heavy ions collide at high energies they form for an instant a ‘fireball’ of hot, dense matter that can be studied by the experiments.

ALPer Christopher Louie Lu gave an interesting lecture on Large Hadron Collider.

ALP President James Kevin Ty presents to ALPer Andrew Ian Chan the 2010 ALP 9 Ball Billiards Championship Trophy.

Manila Planetarium OIC Ma. Belen Pabunan presented the 1st Runner-Up trophy to ALP President James Kevin Ty.

ALPer Vincent Lao receives the 2nd Runner-Up trophy on behalf of ALP Treasurer Henry So from ALP President James Kevin Ty.

Afterwards, ALP President James Kevin Ty gave a summarized eclipse report of the July 11, 2010 Total Solar Eclipse which was observed and documented by ALP honorary members Edwin Aguirre and Imelda Joson in the Tatakoto Atoll in French Polynesia. James showed the eclipse video and images made by them to the members.

James then announced the winners of the recent July 18, 2010 5th 9 Ball Billiards Tournament in which ALPer Andrew Ian Chan won the 2010 crown with ALPers James Kevin Ty and Henry So settling for the 1st and 2nd Runner Up respectively.

He then discussed on the upcoming August 12-13, 2010 Perseids observation in which ALP PRO Armando Lee will lead the observation of the event at the AstroCamp Observatory in SM MOA.  There will also be an out of town observing session at Caliraya, Laguna on August 14, 2010.  Both events are weather dependent so please let Armand and James know in advance in case you are joining the event.

Last but not the least, the annual Moon Cake Dice Game will be held on September 12  which will coincide with ALP anniversary party and meeting.  Full details of the event will be discussed with the members in the days to come.

The meeting ended at around 5:00pm .


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