Stargazing Report


AUGUST 27, 2003 


August 27, the day Mars looms the largest in our night sky for the last 60,000 years... In celebration of Mars' Grand Opposition, tonight, Crossroads 77  with the assistance of the newly-born ALP, hosted a public viewing of Mars in its limited but manageable viewing deck (Soul Park?) in Crossroad 77, Ma. Ignacia Street cor. Sct. Reyes. What a night it would be! Spearheaded by the energetic jet-setting Alice Villa-Real (3 hours ago she was still in Butuan City) and her 5" Nextar Elisha , it was backed up by fellow ALPers president James Kevin Ty   with his TV101(straight from Bicol Express), Treasurer Allen Yu and his ageless 6" newtonian reflector (arrived late with Kevin as usual), the normally punctual and dedicated Edward Tan with another 6" Orion Dob, and also the equally motivated Secretary Rich Pijuan, last but not the least, better-late-than-never Joel Munoz with his better-looking-than-the-owner truss type (the first in the Philippines!) telescope :)

The informative presentation and hosting managed  to disproved the hype that Mars would suddenly swell up to Moon size proportions on the magic night of Aug. 27, and the 500++ able and curious CW77 crowd went home perhaps more informed and aware of our planetary connections, and smiling too, as they were granted with that special privilege of having peeked to another world.  Although the night was not devoid of clouds, they were able to take advantage of thin passing clouds as they filtered down Mars' excessive mag. -2.9 glare, and rendered the planet a healthy orange hue. Martian features visible were the South Polar Cap which was shrinking to near invisibility yet as white as it could be, so it plainly stands out, the contrast grayish Mare Cimmerium slicing across the disk, the overall color tone of Mars which was partly deceiving to the viewers as different telescope owners used a variety of filters to expose more of the surface details.

Together, this was an awesome display of force, unity and common love for the sky unique only to few gifted groups like the ALP  even though they have managed to utilize only 60% of the entire machinery of the group. We drink to the success of hosting and helping Alice  and CW77 in this momentous occasion, and to the first public appearance and service of ALP as a no-nonsense astronomical group.


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2003 Astronomical League of the Philippines Inc.