Sunday, November 19, 2017

Stargazing with JAO

My mentee, Sobina Yu, approached me once to talk about setting up an astronomy organization in her school. Part of the projects she had in line for the Judenite's Astronomical Organization was an out of town stargazing trip. On October 7 an agreement was made between the Manila Street Astronomers and JAO to facilitate a stargazing trip at Big Handy's Grounds.

With my mentee,
the president and founder of JAO
Sobina organized and facilitated mostly everything: from talking to teachers and school administrators, securing permits, parents consents, transportation, budgeting and accounting, and coordination with Big Handy's Grounds. This was her first time handling an activity of this sort so she was very much out of her comfort zone. Even when she got all stressed out - messaging me late at night, contacting various people, explaining to parents, etc. - she handled everything pretty well, and I am very proud of her for doing so. Assisting her from JAO to deal with school documents was her VP, Janina Uygongco. I on the other hand organized the manpower who will serve as facilitators, and telescope providers. I had a bit of problems at first with the changing line up of facilitators since most of the MSA core group had sudden unforeseen work concerns (which can't be avoided, I've had my share). Fortunately I had some reliable individuals to catch the ball - Rheanne Odessa Jimeno and Kenneth Bailador. As hiking was a necessary part of the trip the three of us used portable telescope setups. I brought my Celestron TravelScope 70 and my Celestron C90, while Rheanne and Kenneth brought a PowerSeeker 80 EQ. Also with us were Kashogi Astapan and Khristian Dimacali.

The group left Mendiola at around 1:00 PM on November 15. It was my first trip to BHG. It was cloudy when we got there but fast moving wind currents kept the clouds moving through the night. Unfortunately we missed out on several of the southern targets. Even Saturn was hard to resolve with the poor seeing. In the west we could see the sky glow from Manila, and in the east another bright light source was present. Fortunately It was gone some time past midnight. Friends who have been to BHG said it wasn't there before. For a moment when there was full cloud cover the sky was bright as clouds glowed white from the light sources.

We were able to observe several deep-sky objects including star clusters, nebulae, double stars, and the Andromeda galaxy. In the morning we watched the waning crescent Moon while waiting for the sunrise.

Facing south west, Manila sky glow

Facing East

If you want to read more about this activity visit The Cosmic Wonderer.

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