October 29-30, 2011 ALP Caliraya Stargazing Session Report
by James Kevin Ty
Images by James Kevin Ty & Jett Aguilar

With a long weekend vacation ahead , ALP President James Kevin Ty  together with fellow ALPer VP Dr. Jett Aguilar went to Caliraya, Laguna in the late afternoon to try to observe and image some deep sky objects there as it has still good dark skies in our setup area.

They arrived at around 7:00pm and setup their mount while Polaris is still visible. James brought a portable setup consisting of Canon EOS 500D DSLR on Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 IS L lens mounted on top of his portable Kenko Sky Memo-R tracker to follow the stars. Jett , on the other hand brought along his Takahashi TSA-102 refractor with Canon EOS 50D DSLR mounted on top of Vixen GP-DX mount.

After they polar aligned their mount, there was a slight drizzle that lasted only a few minutes but the sky was very beautiful afterwards! They  then had their dinner first as both of them are quite hungry already from the long travel. Afterwards, they started to image the night sky.

Andromeda Galaxy was positioned high so James took the chance to image our Milky Way's closest galaxy, M31 Andromeda Galaxy together with its 2 galaxy companion M32 and M110. He was able to exposed more than 1 hour of total exposure for the said object. He then prepare to image his next object , Helix Nebula and California Nebula but since it is near the zenith already, He had a hard time composing the said objects, thus he then proceeded to his next object on his list which is the B33 Horsehead Nebula and NGC2024 Flame Nebula in Orion. But as he was starting to image it after midnight, clouds started to roll in partially so he was only able to exposed for half of my planned total exposure for the said object. Since then, he had to play cat and mouse with the clouds to expose in between breaks in the clouds till around 2:40am when thick clouds started to cover the sky thus shortened my imaging session :( He  was planning to still wait but  started to feel sleepy already and tired thus he sleep on the car while Jett still manage to wait for a few more shot before calling it a night as well. Jett was also able to tame his mount and in the latter half of the night was able to run the mount a bit smoothly. So he was able to image Pleiades star cluster, Orion Nebula and Horsehead Nebula.

At around 9:00am after they had a short coffee and some light breakfast, they head back to Manila with a good feeling from their imaging session at Caliraya as the moments of observing and imaging under a dark sky was a privilege that  they will always cherish on their  numerous observing sessions there. They are looking forward to going back in the next New Moon weekend to continue to image the other objects in their list :)

NGC2024 Flame Nebula & B33 Horsehead Nebula in Orion by James Kevin Ty

NGC2024 Flame Nebula & B33 Horsehead Nebula in Orion by Jett Aguilar

M45 Pleaides Star Cluster in Taurus by Jett Aguilar

M42 Orion Nebula in Orion by Jett Aguilar



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