May 7, 2017 ALP Monthly Meeting Report
by James Kevin Ty & Christopher Louie Lu

Last May 7th, Astronomical League of the Philippines held its monthly meeting at Alice Villa-Real's residence in Quezon City. Members who were present were ALP President James Kevin Ty , Secretary Christopher Louie Lu, Treasurer Andrew Ian Chan, Auditor Edgar Ang , directors Ronald Sison  , members Alice Villa-Real and Adi Bontuyan.

Meeting started at around 3:30pm with ALP Secretary Christopher Louie Lu discussing on highlights of Events for May as well as Trappst-1 System. 

Last February 2017, NASA announced the discovery TRAPPIST 1 Exo-Solar System consisting of seven new exoplanets revolving around a red dwarf star in the constellation of Aquarius. Although, exoplanets are being discovered almost in a monthly basis, this exo-solar system is quite special. Most planets discovered so far mostly consists of Jupiter sized planets or larger. These, however, are all Earth-size planets.

The first three planets were discovered using the TRAnsiting Planets & Planetesimals Small Telescope in La Silla Observatory in Chile by Michaël Gillon of the University of Liège in Belgium. Follow up observations by NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope and the Very Large Telescope in Atacama Desert of northern Chile has determined four other planets revolving around a red dwarf star 39.5 light years away, making the total number of planets discovered to seven. Besides these planet are all Earth-sized, what makes them more exciting is that four of them are revolving within the ‘Habitable Zone’. Where a planet revolves around its parent star is at the right distance where water can exist as a liquid on the planets surface.

Further observations of TRAPPIST 1 can be made when the James Webb Space Telescope is finally launched and deployed in 2018. Its Infrared telescopes and Infrared spectrographer has the ability to make further observations of the individual planets but to study its atmosphere, if any, as well. Ultimately by analyzing its atmospheres it would also answer the question of whether or not there is life on these distant & remote planets.

This was followed by a short discussion by ALP Auditor Edgar Ang on Mars Terraforming.  He discuss some possible ways for Mars to be able to sustain life in the future such as using nuclear bomb to melt down the polar ice caps as well as using dipole to try to recreate  a Martian "Van Allen Belt" to protect it from solar radiation, etc. He will further discuss this topic in the next monthly meeting.

The meeting ended at around 6:00pm.





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