April 6, 2014 ALP Monthly Meeting Report
by James Kevin Ty

Last April 6 , 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  wife Chat and son Kendrick Cole KC Ty ; VP Jett Aguilar, Treasurer Andrew Ian Chan, Auditor Edgar Ang, directors Peter Benedict Tubalinal & John Ray Cabrera,  Norman Marigza, Justine Garcia, Edge Lat, Mark & Arlene Vornhusen, Liza Quitlong & Nel Lagda

Meeting started at around 3:30pm with ALP director Peter Benedict Tubalinal presenting a good lecture on Meteor Observation. To understand why meteor showers occur, it needs to be identified where it comes from in the first place. The sources of meteors are from comets, and asteroids. But in order to produce a meteor shower will take a swarm of particles -- which the best source is from a comet. As a comet plunges into the inner solar system the heat of the Sun melts icy nucleus, releasing gases and dust particles which forms the comet's head. The pressure of the Sun then pushes the dust and gas away from the head, forming the two common tails (the gas tail, and the dust tail). As the comet moves following its path, it leaves behind it the dust particles which we call meteoroids. While the Earth constantly moves around the Sun, chances are that our planet intersects these meteoroids. As it enters the earth's atmosphere at a height of 75km from the earth's surface, the meteoroids start to burn up and turns into a shooting star or falling star (scientifically termed as a 'meteor'). The meteor becomes visible to the naked eye when it goes further down at 65km from the earth's surface. Because the sizes of the dust particles only range between a grain of sand to the size of pebbles, they will disintegrate at 50km from the earth's surface. So to say, meteor showers are very safe to watch as they do not reach the earth's surface. Only those big chunks of meteors coming from asteroids have this capability. Meteors can be seen at ranging sizes and colors. Those that shine as bright as the planet Venus are called 'fireballs'. If they explode, they are classified as 'bolides'. In color, they will indicate the type of element they bring as they are being ionized into the earth's atmosphere: yellow - iron orange/yellow - sodium blue/green - magnesium violet - calcium red - silicate Meteor showers are associated with background constellations it seem to be originating. So if a meteor seem to come in the boundary of constellation Orion, then we call it the 'Orionids' and so forth. If a meteor does not belong to a meteor shower, it is termed as a sporadic meteor. An exercise was given to better understand how to tell if a meteor seen is part of a meteor shower or a sporadic. This is in preparation for the upcoming Lyrids meteor shower which is expected to peak on April 22-23. Expected rates should reach around 15 meteors per hour, which is best seen around and after midnight.

Afterwards, ALP VP Jett Aguilar then proceeded with another good lecture on Mars observation and Imaging Tips.  He discuss the current Mars opposition which is slated on April 8, 2014 which more or less will show a 15.1" size.  Next opposition that will be best will be around July 27, 2016 when the size of Mars will be around 24.1" .  Jett also show some tips and techniques he used to document and image Mars which he shared tot he group.

Lastly, ALP President James Kevin Ty invited again ALPers and non members to join the Messier Marathon 2014 which will be held this coming April 26 at Caliraya , Laguna. Meeting ended at around 5:30pm.

NAW director and Messier Marathon chairman Peter Benedict Tubalinal gives a good lecture on Meteor observation as well as the April 26, 2014 Messier Marathon event at Caliraya, Laguna.

ALPers listen to the good lectures presented by both ALP director Peter Benedict Tubalinal & VP Jett Aguilar.

ALP VP Jett Aguilar gave an interesting lecture on Mars observation and imaging tips.

ALP President James Kevin Ty invited members and guests to join the Messier Marathon event regardless of age and  affiliations.




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