April 4, 2015 ALP Total Lunar Eclipse Observation Report
by James Kevin Ty and Christopher Louie Lu
Images by James Kevin Ty and Christopher Louie Lu

Last April 4, members of the Astronomical League of the Philippines (ALP) set up 2 main observing sites at Binondo and San Juan City.  The ALP Binondo team consists of ALP President James Kevin Ty and son Kendrick Cole KC Ty; Treasurer Andrew Ian Chan and Shubhashish Banerjee.  ALP San Juan team , on the other hand, consists of ALP Secretary Christopher Louie Lu, Auditor Edgar Ang and PRO Edge Lat.  Aside from the 2 main sites, other ALPers observe at their individual homes.

ALP Binondo Team

The ALP Binondo team consists of ALP President James Kevin Ty and son Kendrick Cole KC Ty; Treasurer Andrew Ian Chan and Shubhashish Banerjee meetup at the residence of ALP Treasurer Andrew Ian Chan at around 5:00pm.  James brought along his Canon EOS 500D DSLR with Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 IS L lens on Vixen Polarie Star Tracker; Andrew with his Canon EOS 500D DSLR with Canon EFS 18-200mm zoom lens on Vixen Polarie Star Tracker ; Shubhashish with his Canon EOS 7D DSLR on Canon EF 75-300mm zoom lens on Vixen Polarie Star Tracker.

The sky was very cloudy at the start of the eclipse and they were only able to glimpse the Moon already deep into its partiality phase at around 7:15pm PST.  At around 7:40pm onwards, the sky partly cleared up for them to observe totality from till 7:59pm PST before getting clouded out again.  The Moon re-emerged from the clouds at around 8:10pm till 8:40pm before they finally got clouded out .  They waited till 9:30pm before calling it a night.  It was a successful eclipse observation as despite the bad weather prediction due to Typhoon Chedeng, they were able to observe totality at its finest!

Also take note that PAGASA had erroneously inform the public through its website's press release that the Philippines will be only able to observe a Partial Lunar Eclipse instead of a Total Lunar Eclipse!  ALP President James Kevin Ty contacted PAGASA on this matter but they insisted that it was indeed a Partial Eclipse only with an 80% partiality only. With their observation and images, ALP was able to confirm that a TOTAL lunar eclipse indeed happened with the northernmost limb slightly brightened due to atmospheric refraction.  Despite the brightening, they were able to prove that it was still immerse inside the Earth's limb with 3 images showing same exposure and setting before and after totality.  The Before and After Totality shot shows the bright limb to be overexposed while the totality shot has a bright limb which is still properly exposed!  Also, eclipse expert and friend Fred Espenak's 5 minutes totality duration was correct compared to the computation of 12 minutes predicted by USNO.

Before Totality 7:50pm PST

Totality 7:59pm PST

After Totality 8:10pm PST

Wide Angle Shot after Totality

ALP San Juan Team

What are the chances of seeing a #TotalLunarEclipse during a tropical storm? Next to none. But that doesn't stop fellow ALPers Edgar Ang, Edge Lat & myself who diligently watched over cloudy skies to observe & image this event.
The group assembled at 05:30pm and proceeded to
Lu Andy (my Brother's) roofdeck & started to setup our various imaging equipment. I had my Celestron Powerseeker 80EQ with Canon 450d on prime focus & a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS42 on piggy-back. Edge with his Canon 60d with Canon 300mm IS Lens on a sturdy tripod & Edgar with a Canon 40d with Canon 250mm Lens on a Polarie mount & sturdy tripod. However, thick clouds has gathered over the eastern horizon from TS 'Chedeng' but despite this we waited for any chance for a break in the clouds to make the eclipse visible to us even for just a few minutes. And the wait paid off at around 07:30pm, then in a sudden burst of activity, me & fellow ALPers started imaging an almost #TotalLunarEclipse. The Moon went in and out of the clouds which made it more difficult to image. Then just before Totality, the sky blanketed our view making our team miss what should be an awesome 'Red Moon'. Unfazed, the skies opened once again for a brief moment before it finally closed for the final time making us miss the rest of the eclipse. They waited till 09:00pm before deciding to pack up and call it a night. However hard it was for them to record this celestial event, the images that they took home with them was worth the wait &  patience.  They also would like to give special mention & thanks to Chris' brother Andy and Veronica Lu for hosting their small team on their roofdeck, otherwise, this session would not have been possible.


For total lunar eclipse images taken by other ALPers, click here.



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