October 7, 2012 ALP Monthly Meeting Report
by James Kevin Ty , Jett Aguilar & Christopher Louie Lu

Last October 7, members of the Astronomical League of the Philippines (ALP) held their monthly  meeting at Manila Planetarium.  Members who attended were ALP President James Kevin Ty and son Kendrick Cole KC Ty ,  VP Jett Aguilar , Secretary  Christopher Louie Lu , director John ray Cabrera, Ma. Belen Pabunan , Nel Lagda , Gary Andreassen  and  wife Irma  Andreassen ;  Arnel Campos and wife Michelle Campos; Norman Marigza ,  Mike Enage, Jerome Clemente , Christelle Mariano and  Marv Gulapa.

Meeting proper started at around 3pm with ALP Vice-President Jett Aguilar giving a  talk on "Observing Double Stars, Part I which tackle on  an introductory lecture on observing double or binary stars. He started by enumerating the scientific value, advantages and ease of observing double stars even on conditions of mediocre seeing and light pollution, as well as the enjoyment of visualizing (or imaging) these numerous beautiful objects.  Jett then discussed the different types of binary or double stars such as the optical doubles, visual binaries, astrometric binaries, spectroscopic binaries and the eclipsing binaries. He then introduced the measurement of angles of separation and position angles using professional and amateur astronomical equipment.  His next lecture will discuss the current amateur astronomy methods for measuring double stars as well as actual observations and measurements.

The lecture was followed at a refresher lecture updates on our Solar System by ALP Secretary Christopher Louie Lu.  He touched on the basic planet info as well as the past and current space probes that were launched to study them.

Astronomy has developed with great leaps and bounds. Amateur Astronomy has gone a long way since Galileo pointed his telescope towards the heavens. We were able to reach the Moon and back, send probes to distant planets and even found exoplanets far beyond our own Solar System. But sometimes its good to revisit our own stellar neighborhood and reflect how extremely lucky we are. To go back to basics and remind ourselves why we got into astronomy in the first place. And what more basic it would be than to revisit our own solar system. 

Our place in the solar system is not unique as first believed. We first believed that the Universe is centered on us but with the birth of modern astronomy with the combined discoveries of Copernicus, Kepler and Galileo, our world was suddenly thrusted into the "third rock" position. Slowly and surely as technologies and further understanding of how the universe works we gained more understanding and made exciting discoveries about the other planets and ultimately ourselves as a participant in a unfolding universe. Rocky planets like Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars teaches us how fragile and delicate life is being so close the Sun like Mercury or too far like Mars. Our planet happens to be just in the right place. The Gas giants, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus & Nepture. These worlds are interesting but far more fascinating are their moons that has created a separate world of their own. Gas giant, Jupiter in particular, has been our big brother since the early formation of our planet. Keeping away wayward asteroids or comets from smashing into planet Earth snuffing out whatever life that is thriving on its surface. Next to the Earth, Saturn is a jewel because of its magnificent rings. 

Finally, the Dwarf Planets. Pluto, Eris, Ceres and even our own Moon is considered a dwarf planet. Objects that are planets in the making but does not have enough material to be a "planet".

So next time we look up into the heavens and wonder about other worlds, just remember that even though they are million miles or a billion miles away, those planets tell us our place in this universe and they also teach us about us and the future of our species.

ALP VP Jett Aguilar talks on Double Star Observations & Measurements.

ALPers listen to Jett's lecture to know how to get started in double star observations.

ALP VP Jett Aguilar gave  basic pointers on how to measure double stars angular distance and position angle

ALP Secretary Christopher Louie Lu gave a refresher lecture on the newest updates on our Solar System.

ALP President James Kevin Ty discussed on the logistic plans for the October 13th Caliraya stargazing session.

ALP Secretary Christopher Louie Lu was one of the lucky winners of the Celestron Bonnet that were raffled off by ALP for the participating ALPers on the Sept 22nd InOMN activity courtesy of Cutting Edge.

ALPer Gary Andreassen  was one of the lucky winners of the Celestron Bonnet that were raffled off by ALP for the participating ALPers on the Sept 22nd InOMN activity courtesy of Cutting Edge.

ALPers Christopher Louie Lu, Gary Andreassen and Arnel Campos posed together as lucky winners of the Celestron Bonnets that were raffled off by ALP for the participating ALPers on the Sept 22nd InOMN activity courtesy of Cutting Edge.

Lastly, ALP President James Kevin Ty  discussed the upcoming plans for the Caliraya stargazing sessions on October 13th. Due to unpredictable weather, the final decision to push through will be made at the earliest October 11 or latest October 14th.  Please be updated on the status by regularly checking on ALP facebook page. Celestron Bonnets  were raffled off by ALP for the participating ALPers on the Sept 22nd InOMN activity courtesy of Cutting Edge and the lucky recipients were ALPers Christopher Louie Lu, Gary Andreassen and Arnel Campos.

The meeting ended at around 5:30pm. 



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