November 6, 2011 ALP Monthly
Kevin Ty , Jett Aguilar and Christopher Louie Lu
Last October 9,
members of the Astronomical League of the Philippines
(ALP) attended their monthly meeting at Rizal
Technological University in Boni Avenue , Mandaluyong
City despite hard rain in
some areas of Manila. Members who
attended were ALP President James Kevin Ty , Charito Ty and son Kendrick Cole KC Ty
, VP Jett Aguilar, Secretary Edgar Ang,
Christopher Louie Lu , Norman Marigza, Ronald Sison, and
Vincent Gella and Dr. Jesus Rodrigo Torres.
Meeting started at around
2:30pm with ALP Special Events chairman Christopher Louie Lu
who touched on November Celestial Events as well as
Part 2 of his Ancient
Throughout the centuries,
Astronomy has achieved so much knowledge from
exploration and discovery. With the use of modern and
high tech instruments we can see, touch and smell things
that are way beyond our reach and still we know so
little of the unexplored universe. But this seem to be
not a problem to our ancient forebears who, without the
use of modern equipment, tried to understand not just
the natural world they lived in but the universe as
During the 4th to the 2nd
millenias BCE, intellectual achievements were made by
different civilizations and cultures. It was era of the
Sumerians, Babylonians, Egyptians, Chinese and Indians
intellect that flourished and expanded the known world.
But on the 1st millenia BCE, it was no
question that it was the Greeks who conquered this era
in intellectual achievements. Though many famous Greek
thinkers and Philosophers has made their mark and
contributed a great deal in the field of mathematics,
literature, art and science, I would like to concentrate
on the Greek intellectuals who made great contributions
in the field of astronomy.
(c. 629 – 555 BCE) Known as the 1st
Philosopher and Scientist
He was the first to try to answer
questions such as “What is the Universe?” or “What is
life?” without invoking the supernatural
Pythagoras – (c.
580 – 500 BCE) He is known as the 1st real
He linked numbers (arithmetic) to shapes
(geometry) and ultimately to nature an astronomy.
He proposed that the spheres carrying the
Sun, Moon, planets & stars around the Earth are
harmonious & could be represented by numbers.
Plato – (c. 427 –
347 BCE) He believed that the natural world is a
imperfect representation of the true Universe and so
the only way to learn more of the Universe is by logic
& reason, rather than by observations.
He also stated that the sphere is the
perfect geometric shape and that all astronomical bodies
must be spherical and their motions circular.
Built & founded his school in 368 BCE,
naming it “the Academy”.
Aristotle – (c. 384
– 322 BCE) A pupil of Plato, he tutored Alexander the
His model of the Universe will go
unchallenged for the next 2000 years.
He recorded the first known views of
motion & gravity.
Considering the motions of the heavenly
bodies, he believed that the laws governing them are
different from the laws here on Earth. Where, here on
Earth, everything is to remain stationary, the motions
of the heavenly bodies were permanent and endless. This
meant that heavenly bodies move in circular motion and
at constant speeds.
Aristarchus – (c.310
– 230 BCE) He was from Samos & a great scholar in
- Though he was not the first to ask the questions
- “How far is the Moon?, How far is the Sun?, How far
are the stars?”, he was the first to use geometrical
methods to answer them.
was geometrically correct but his precision was limited
that the Earth was 3x larger than the Moon. (Actually,
its 4x larger)
estimated the distance of the Earth to the Moon in 25
Earth-diameters. (Actually, its 30x Earth-diameters)
that the Sun is 20x distant and 20x larger than the Moon
or 7x larger than the Earth.
He was able
to determined that the Sun was much farther away from
the Earth than the Moon was. And that it was much larger
than the Earth, which was itself larger than the Moon.
passion for determining astronomical distances, he
realized that his model gave him a method of measuring
the distance to the stars.
(c. 275 – 195 BCE) Born in Athens but was to spent most
of his life in Alexandria.
and remarkable achievement was to measure the size of
- He thus
calculated the Earth circumference to 40,000 km (the
actual circumference is
7. Hipparchus – (c.
194 - 120 BCE) Born in Nicea but spent most of his life
on the island of Rhodes and
in the city of Alexandria.
- He is said
to be the first really great observational astronomer.
mapped the positions of 1080 stars over a 30 year period
estimates of their brightness; he did the same for the
five planets: Mercury, Venus, Mars,
Jupiter and Saturn.
- One of his
great achievements was the detection of the precession
of the Earth’s axis.
- He also
sought to bring to geography the precision of astronomy
by using his stellar
observations to locate places on Earth.
determine the distance to the Moon and arrived at a
remarkably accurate value of 30
Earth diameters. Using the measurement of
the Earth’s diameter by Eratosthenes, he
derived the Earth-Moon
distance to be 382,000 kilometers.
8. Claudius Ptolemy –
100 - 170 CE) He was a Roman
citizen of Egypt who wrote in Greek.
- He lived
in Egypt under Roman rule, and is believed to have been
born in the town of
Ptolemais Hermiou in the Thebaid.
greatest work in astronomy was known by its Arabic name
“The Almagest”; The
Almagest consisted of 13 books. Eight books were
essentially a description of the
achievements of Greek astronomy before him,
but the last five books represented his own major
contribution to astronomy.
Afterwards, ALP VP Jett Aguilar
then presented his very interesting and
educational lecture on Jupiter observation.
He started out by touching on the basic planetary
information on the largest planet on our solar system.
He then discuss on the recent discoveries and excellent
planetary imaging made by amateur astronomers like our
very own ALPers Christopher Go & John Nassr
as well as Anthony Wesley and Damian Peach.
He then proceeded to discussed on
the cloud belts and zones of Jupiter and also tackle on
the 3 Systems being used to compute when a certain
object in Jupiter can be observed. Also discussed
by Jett are the Jovian main satellites namely Io, Europa,
Ganymede and Callisto.
Lastly, he also shared his own
early Jupiter images and how it had improved over the
years through dedication and perseverance that other
amateur astronomers can follow.
ALPer Christopher Louie Lu
started out his lecture on the highlights of the
ALPer Christopher Louie Lu
then continue his second part of his Ancient
Astronomy lecture series.
ALP VP Jett Aguilar gave a
very interesting and educational lecture on Jupiter
ALPers pose in front of the
various beautiful astro wallpapers inside the RTU
Lastly, ALP President James Kevin
Ty then inform the members that the December annual
meeting and Xmas party will be held on December 4, 2011
either at Manila Planetarium or at Jett's residence.
Pot Luck Food so members are requested to bring some
foods to share with fellow members like before.
Astro Bingo will also be played during the said event
and members will be receiving SMS message to
confirm if they are joining the events or not.
Since ALP will be having an annual
meeting and Xmas party, there will be renewal of membership dues as well
as an election for the board of directors for the 2012
and the following are the nominees to be elected in the
5 slots that will be vacant for election:
Ang , Edgar
Cabrera , John Ray
Carlsen , Angie
Lu , Christopher Louie
Pijuan , Rich
Tubalinal , Peter Benedict
Ty , James Kevin
The list of members that need to
renew will be posted in our ALP2003 mailing list
as well as through SMS notification.
The meeting ended at around
5:30pm. ALP would like to thank RTU President Dr. Jesus
Rodrigo Torres for letting ALP have their November
monthly meeting at their school.