February 19, 2012 ALP NAW Opening Activity Report
by James Kevin Ty, Christopher Louie Lu, Armando Lee, Christopher Lee & Peter Benedict Tubalinal
Images by James Kevin Ty, Jett Aguilar & Armando Lee

Last February 19, the Astronomical League of the Philippines (ALP) held its National Astronomy Week celebration for the  4th Philippine Astronomy Convention (NAW) opening ceremonies at the Manila Planetarium, now officially named National Museum Planetarium.  More than 70 members and guests attended the opening day activity. Members who were present that day were ALP President James Kevin Ty, wife Charito  and son Kendrick Cole KC Ty; VP Jett Aguilar, Treasurer Andrew Ian Chan & Iah Serna; Secretary & National Astronomy Chairman Christopher Louie Lu and wife Karren with daughter Frances Lu; Auditor John Ray Cabrera, PRO Armando Lee with wife Myra and Jason Lee; directors Edgar Ang, Peter Benedict Tubalinal & Christopher Lee and Sandra Torita;  Gary Andreassen with wife Irma and son Steinar; Aileen Rose Sassot, Miguel Cajita and Modesto Cajita; Arnel Campos, Norman Marigza, Ronald Sison, Henry So, Sheldon Espartero, Katrina Banaag, Renato dela Pena, Joanne Escober, Mark Ian Singson, Joshua Herrera, Jerome Neil Clemente, Jan Karlo Hernandez, Belen Pabunan and planetarium staffs Nel Lagda, Desiree del Rosario, Liza Quitlong, Junelyn Alacapa, Maximo Zabanal, Roberto Silvestre & Mary Ann Ramirez.

Registration started at around 12pm and program proper started at around 1:30 pm with NAW Chairman, Christopher Louie Lu, singing the national anthem and afterwards thanked and acknowledged  the following individuals and institutions for making this years event possible: 


I. Astronomical League of the Philippines (ALP)

            ALP President James Kevin Ty, the speakers / lecturers for the day and other contributing members who made this event possible.


II. National Museum Planetarium (NMP)

            NMP Director Jeremy Barns. 

            NMP Curator Belen Pabunan and the staff of Manila Planetarium


III. Rizal Technological University

            RTU President Jesus Rodrigo Torres

            Colleague and Staff Ruby Ann Dele Cruz and RTU Astronomy Society


IV. Astrocamp Observatory Services

            Owner and Proprietor Dr. Armando Lee

            SM by the Bay Asst. Mall Manager Joey Gonzales


V. Cutting Edge (official distributor of Celestron Telescope)

            Company President Terrence Chua

            Marketing Manager Irene Garcia and Katrina Sales


VI. Celestron Telescope


This was followed by the opening remarks made by the National Museum Planetarium Curator Belen Pabunan , on behalf of National Museum director Jeremy Barns , welcoming both members and participants in the NAW opening ceremony.  She also encouraged everyone to continue to explore the universe then presenting the "soft launching" of Starry Starry Nights exclusively to our days activity. After which, she officially opens the NAW celebration.

Afterwards. a documentary film show that shares a little insight to the conspiracy of 2012 “End Of Days Scenarios” was shown to the participants ,after which, Dr. Armando Lee proceeded to his lecture titled “A Guide to knowing the truth about the 2012 End of Days scenarios” which covers the following:

In the light of public service, the ALP Director of Institute of Astronomy Dr Armando Lee presents a resource guide devoted to a topic that interests the people this year as viral media capitalize on End of the World Scenarios to promote different products and services which also brings fear and panic to those not familiar with them especially those related to astronomical phenomena. The lectures touched on the following scenarious: Mayan calendar ends, Planet Nibiru's approach, Alien invasion, Solar flares, Pole shift, Galactic alignment, Asteroid impact, and Red Giant Sun. The other half of the lectures provides the tools and analyzing end of the world (EOTW) scenarios and presents the common fallacies that proponents of EOTW scenarios use.

After the lecture, a 10 minutes break followed.  During this time, ALP President James Kevin Ty and Treasurer Andrew Ian Chan distributed official ALP ID cards to ALP members for the year 2012.

When the participants finally settled down, the second half of the day's presentation continues. The Planetarium staff then presented the “soft launch” of Manila Planetarium show “Starry Starry Nights” that features the not just the stars in our night sky but also answers the questions “how is a star created?”, ”what kinds of stars are there?”.  It also talks about the constellations and its corresponding stories and myths.  

Christopher Louie Lu then introduced ALP four time Messier Marathon Champion, Peter Benedict Tubalinal to lecture about his experiences and strategies on Messier Marathon entitled “Messier Observing Strategies”.  His lecture covers the following:

Messier-hunting has been one of the most celebrated events by astronomers worldwide.  It is considered as the most challenging test for observation and patience for the astronomer. Star clusters, nebulae, and galaxies are scattered across the heavens.  It comes with different cataloged groups, but we are going to focus on the most famous Messier Catalog since it is situated with the annual Messier Marathon event.  Charles Messier was the greatest comet hunter of his time. However, some of the objects that he spotted with his 3-inch telescope were not all comets.  He cataloged these objects that he has mistaken them as comets and it happens to be star clusters, others nebulae, and others he thought were galaxies.  These three combination formed the messier catalog.

Spotting all the messier objects can only be possible during the vernal equinox, where it will take the whole night.  Because they vary in brightness and time, a STRATEGY is needed in order to successfully locate them. You must first have a sequenced plan.  It lists the order of finding them primarily based on time. This comes with a good star chart which contains the location of the messier objects.  Any chart can be used, either local one, a star atlas, interactive (computerized) star chart software such as Starry Night, Sky Map, and others.  Celestron's Sky Scout is one of the best for practicing messier hunting (however you cannot use it during a messier marathon competition).  

Since the earth constantly rotates, the messiers will eventually set. Thus you need to prioritize the messier that needs to be located first before they disappear onto the horizon.  Another thing to consider is the cloud condition.  Time may occur when some of the messiers are obstructed by clouds, and waiting for them to come out in accordance to your planned list will eat a lot of time.

What one can do is to locate for the other messier that follows on the list which is visible at the moment as you wait for the clouds to move out.  This way, you maximize your time spotting the others and go back to the missed messier you skipped. Another thing to consider is to analyze the blending of your eyepieces with your telescope.  Messier objects have different brightness, thus eyepieces will vary as well.  If you are using binoculars, it is best to bring along additional binoculars that have different magnifications since it is impossible to replace its eyepieces.  One important strategy is how to spot them through your equipment.  It is not a problem when the messier object is bright, however if it will be faint, that will be our concern. One method that you can do is star-hopping.  Using your star chart, identify a bright star that serves as your starting point.

Then proceed with locating the next stars near it and so on until you reach the faint messier object.  Sometimes the object is just too dim to be spotted directly when observed into the eyepiece.  Such cases require an additional technique called 'averted vision'.  Since the most sensitive part of our eyes are situated away from the retina, you do not directly look at the faint object.  You must look at least 8 to 16 degrees at the side of the object.  Look left of the messier object when you are using your left eye, and right when using your right eye. If you are using binoculars, both eyes must look upwards from the object in order to see it.

Having learned the strategies of observing will now bring you to joining the messier marathon.  One will need to bring stuffs that will make you comfortable for observing like relaxing necessities, food, communication devices, and others. You are now ready for hunting down all the messier objects!

Having participated in the Messier Marathon event held every Vernal equinox, I had proved that certain methods and techniques are needed to spot all the 110 messier objects.  And this comes with analysis of how to blend your eyepieces with your telescope

The final lecture, presented by Christopher Lee, features the product review of the  Celestron Sky Scout. Entitled “Sky Observation with Celestron Sky Scout “ which talks about the following:

CELESTRON SKYSCOUT - THE PORTABLE PLANETARIUM.  ALP Director and Astrocamp Observatory Property Custodian Mr Christopher Lee talks about the fruits of modern technology as applied in stargazing and astronomical observation. In his lecture, he talked about the features of the first hand held computerized and GPS based observation guide which dramatically simplifies the tedious task of a beginner astronomer of identifying the objects visible with the naked eye (and even telescopic objects). He demonstrated the proper way of using its features as well as the proper connections for its peripheral functions like the audio output that can be tapped for automated computerized public lectures regarding the objects being observed. This is the first astronomy product presentation in the country for the general public as well as during an astronomy convention and National Astronomy Week Celebration.

ALP NAW Chairman / Secretary Christopher Louie Lu welcomes guests and participants to the 2012 ALP National Astronomy Week / Philippine Astronomy Convention opening day activity at National Museum Planetarium.

National Museum Planetarium curator Belen Pabunan gave a nice opening remarks on behalf of National Museum director Jeremy Barns to start the NAW opening event.

ALP PRO gave an interesting lecture on  Debunking the 2012 End of the World Scenario.

ALP director Peter Benedict Tubalinal gave an interesting lecture on Messier Marathon Preparation and Strategies.

Cutting Edge representative Ms Katrina Salas gave a short insights on the Celestron lines of telescopes and binoculars that are available locally at Cutting Edge stores.

Cutting Edge representative Ms Katrina Salas gave away brochures as well as 10% discount cards for participants that attended the opening day ALP NAW activity.

ALP directorChristopher Lee gives a detailed product review on Celestron Sky Scout.

ALP President James Kevin Ty and ALP NAW Chairman / Secretary Christopher Louie Lu posed beside ALP PRO  Armando Lee as he receives a certificate of appreciation as well as honorarium courtesy of Cutting Edge represented by Ms Katrina Salas while for his lecture  .

ALP President James Kevin Ty and ALP NAW Chairman / Secretary Christopher Louie Lu posed beside ALP director Peter Benedict Tubalinal as he receives a certificate of appreciation as well as honorarium courtesy of Cutting Edge represented by Ms Katrina Salas while for his lecture.

ALP President James Kevin Ty and ALP NAW Chairman / Secretary Christopher Louie Lu posed beside ALP director Christopher Lee as he receives a certificate of appreciation as well as honorarium courtesy of Cutting Edge represented by Ms Katrina Salas while for his lecture

ALP President James Kevin Ty thanking the guests as well as members, lecturers and sponsors for the successful NAW opening day celebration!

(L-R) ALPers Edgar Ang, Ronald Sison & Jan Karlo Hernandez beside ALP Wall Photo

The Astro Kids

New ALP Wall Photos

Chowtime before stargazing

Tagal ng Foods! Pose Muna :) LOL

Whats's our next plans?

ALP Knights on the Rectangle Table :) LOL

The Godfather 2012 starring Peter Pacino :)

ALPers waits for the rain to stop which unfortunately didn't stop :( So Good night everyone, see you at Astrocamp this coming Friday night!

After the last  presentation / lecture of the day, ALP President James Kevin Ty, NAW Chairman Christopher Louie Lu with the help of Cutting Edge representative Katrina Sales, handed out Certificates of Appreciation and  Honorarium to our featured speakers, Dr. Armando Lee, Peter Tubalinal and Christopher Lee. The closing remarks for the day is then delivered by ALP President James Kevin Ty in which he  thanked all who came and attended the event.  After which, members and participants went outside to do traditional group picture in front of the Manila Planetarium. 

Lastly, they proceeded to Rajah Sulayman Park where the planned free public stargazing session was to be held. They first had their early dinner at Aristocrat restaurant before proceeding to setup their telescopes.  Unfortunately, the planned Free Public Stargazing at Rajah Sulayman Park in Roxas Blvd had  to be cancelled due to thick clouds and rain. 

In spite of  the cancelled free public stargazing session, the event can still be considered a success!

Traditional Group  Shot

Traditional Group  Shot Part 2 :)

Wacky Shot !!!




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