December 21, 2010 ALP Partial Lunar Eclipse Phase Observation Report
by James Kevin Ty  & Armando Lee
Images by James Kevin Ty, Armando Lee, John Nassr & Nathaniel Custodio

Last December 21, a  total lunar eclipse will only be visible in the US. For us here in the Philippines, we would be able to see around 35% partiality phase remaining after the moon rises from the NE horizon at 5:32pm. This eclipse also falls on the same date as the northern winter solstice this year which is a rare occurrence. According to Geoff Chester of the US Naval Observatory, who inspected a list of eclipses going back 2000 years. "Since Year 1, I can only find one previous instance of an eclipse matching the same calendar date as the solstice, and that is Dec. 21, 1638," says Chester. "Fortunately we won't have to wait 372 years for the next one...that will be on Dec. 21, 2094."

For this event, ALP President James Kevin Ty was stationed in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte as he has a business work trip that day there.  He brought along his portable Canon 500D DSLR coupled with Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-f/5.6 IS L lens to image the eclipse there on sturdy tripod. 

Another setup site was made by ALP PRO Armando Lee together with ALPer wife Mia and son Jason Lee at Heritage Park  in Taguig City.  He brought along also a portable setup in Canon 350D DSLR on Celestron C90 Maksutov-Cassegrain on sturdy tripod.

Below are observation reports from ALPers stationed at different areas of the country:

Observation Site A - Laoag City, Ilocos Norte by James Kevin Ty

The sky in the afternoon was a bit cloudy and hazy but luckily for James, the sky  in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte was clear in the North-East horizon for him to be able to image the Partial phase of the rare winter solstice total lunar eclipse that was visible in the US. But here in the Philippines, we could only view the partial phase which was estimated to be around 35% partiality remaining at Moonrise at around 5:32pm. But since there was a mountain in the NE horizon, he was able to get a view of the moonrise at around 5:38pm already and the Moon was very beautiful!!!

James was able to image the entire partial phase which last till around 6:05pm more or less. He continue to image into the penumbral phase till around 6:15pm before calling it a night. James still deem himself lucky to be able to image it almost completely compare to his other colleagues who reported seeing some parts of the partial eclipse under very hazy condition. Some even reported not to see it at all in their areas because of cloudy skies!!!

James would like to thank his godfather Mr. Antonio Co of Laoag Bazar for letting him use his roofdeck for him to image the beautiful eclipse! Thanks also to Mr. George Avila for giving him also another observation site option for this event. Thank you to both of you!!!

5:40pm PST

5:45pm PST

5:50pm PST

5:54pm PST

5:58pm PST

6:05pm PST

6:10pm PST

6:16pm PST

Observation Site B- Heritage Park  , Taguig City by Armando Lee

Dr Armando Lee with wife Myra and son Jason originally planned to observed from Venice Piazza but opted to move to the nearby Heritage Park hill to get the best unobstructed view after realizing that the view from Venice Piazza is hindered by the high voltage power lines far out in the eastern side of McKinley Hills just little more than 2 hours before moon rise. Although the sky was too cloudy 2 hours before the moon rise, they stayed on and waited on the new spot they found right on the top of the hill inside the Heritage Park. With a C90 telescope and an EOS350d DSLR camera, they waited even past the moon rise time of 5:32pm and was blessed with a sight of the moon just clearing the clouds above the Sierra Madre Mountain range as seen from their observing site. It was around 5:43pm when they glimpse of the bright orange limb of the moon with the umbral shadow still covering less than half of the moon's disk. It took several minutes more before the whole disk cleared the clouds and an image was captured at 5:46pm. It was a surreal scene finding the orange colored moon with a dark "bite" and it was a treat for Dr Lee's family looking at it as it rise above the Sierra Madre Mountain Range. At 6:00pm the moon was already covered by thick haze that made the moon's image so soft and too dark for imaging. They packed up at around 6:15pm and descended the hill with a
feeling of accomplishment and content, happy that their family shared one of the unique treat for a Winter Solstice.

5:47pm PST

Dr Lee and wife Mia waiting for the moon rise over at Sierra Madre mountain ranges as seen from their observation site in Heritage Park, Taguig City, Philippines

Dr Lee and son Jason waiting for the moon rise to view the later phase of the lunar eclipse of Dec 21, 2010

On a cloudy pays to be patient.... Patience....a known virtue among astronomers....

Observation Site C - Taguig City by Nathaniel Custodio

Here is Nathaniel's shot of the lunar eclipse from Taguig City. This is overlooking the city of Pasig. He had to overexpose the moon to bring out the city skyline for perspective. He used Canon 400D with Canon EF 70-300 zoom lens at F5.6.

Observation Site D - Baguio City by John Nassr

John Nassr and his  son John Michael positioned themselves on a mountain side overlooking the north east to capture the partially eclipsed moon just as it rose over a misty Cordillera Mountain range. Nikon D40 DSLR with Nikkor AF 75-300mm set at 200mm.




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