February 18, 2017 ALP NAW Astronomy Convention Report
by James Kevin Ty , Jett Aguilar, Shubhashish Banerjee and Mark Ian Singson
Images by James Kevin Ty, Christopher Louie Lu, Jett Aguilar , Edge Lat and Angelito Sing

Despite a rainy afternoon last February 18th, Astronomical League of the Philippines held its National Astronomy Week Astronomy Convention at Rizal Technological University in Boni Avenue, Mandaluyong City. Members who were present were ALP President James Kevin Ty , VP Jett Aguilar, Secretary Christopher Louie Lu, Treasurer Andrew Ian Chan, Auditor Edgar Ang , PRO Edge Lat , directors Justine Garcia , Iah Serna, Shubhashish Banejee, Peter Benedict Tubalinal , John Ray Cabrera and Ronald Sison ; Mark Ian Singson , Vincent Gella , Manuel Goseco, Edwin Gatia and Michella Esparas.

Event started at around 1:30pm with a ribbon cutting ceremony to commemorate the opening of one of the 2 RTU Observatory. Afterwards, members and guest went to the penthouse of RTU SNAGAH Building for the start of the Astronomy Convention. Singing of the Philippine National Anthem was done by Himig Rizalia and foloowed the Opening and Welcome Remarks by RTU VP Dr. Edna Aquino and VP Dr. Salvacion Pachejo.

The awarding of the 2017 Father Victor L. Badillo Astronomy Service Award to Dr. Jesus Rodrigo F. Torres for his lead role in establishing the first full academic program in BS Astronomy Technology, as well as Graduate Diploma and Masters in Astronomy in the Philippines at Rizal Technological University. This award is given to an individual who has contributed to the betterment of astronomy in the Philippines. This award is given in honor of Fr. Victor L. Badillo, S.J., PhD whose dedication and guidance in the field of astronomy is well known throughout the Philippine astronomical community. ALP President James Kevin Ty cited Dr. Torres' achievement in the field of Philippine astronomy as well as his international recognition of his research and paperworks as well as being one of the 6th Filipinos to have joined the International Astronomical Union.  He then presented the award to Dr. Torres and was followed by an acceptance speech by him.

This was followed by a song presentation by  Himig Rizalia and a cultural folkdance by Teatro Rizalia. Then , a buffet hosted by RTU for members of Astronomical League of the Philippines and guest follow before the start of the 3 astronomy lecture talks scheduled for the day.

The first lecture was made by ALP VP Jett Aguilar entitled Basic Solar Observation .  The Sun is an easily accessible astronomical object for amateur astronomers to observe and image all year round using small to medium-sized telescopes equipped with proper solar filters. In his lecture on basic Solar Observation, Dr. Aguilar will introduce the basic structure of our nearest star and he will discuss the proper use of and the different types of solar filters for solar observation such as white light filters (e.g. mylar, glass, foil), solar projection, Herschel wedge, and narrow band filters (hydrogen alpha and calcium-K line). He will show images of the Sun taken at different wavelengths and the corresponding basic solar features that can be identified.

This was followed by another interesting astro lecture by ALP director Shubhashish Banerjee entitled Basic Lunar Observation.  The talk was aimed at encouraging interest amongst the audience and uncover the rich features of the moon which we often ignore. We tried to answer the question - Why should we observe moon ? The discussion started with basic terms and jargon which help in understanding simple concepts of the moon. We discussed about the various hypothesis pertaining to birth of the moon and possible ways how the formation would have taken place billions of years back. We discussed about the distances and travel times to get to moon at various speeds as well as the various comparative features between Earth & Moon. We probed into various lunar phenomenal such as Apogee & Perigee and how that impacts the size of the moon, earthshine and why it happens, impact craters and ejecta. This helped in understanding the basics of moon. 

We shifted gears to practical observational aspects that help in appreciating the beautiful features of the Moon . Shubh illustrated various tricks on following lunar phases with the help of simple tools in our day to day life. We went to understand the features of moon as shown on the moon maps and how to get moon maps for quick observation . We compared the various equipments that can be used to watch lunar features. We emphasized on recording and log keeping of lunar observations with simple observation logs. 

Towards the end of the talk we drew attention of the audience towards some of the most common questions that our audience might have with regards to the Moon.

The talk finished some open question and answers and a message & appeal to go out and appreciate the closest heavenly body to earth which is beautiful and full of features and thinking of the impact that Earth would have if Moon wasn't around.

Last but not the least, the final lecture session was made by ALPer  Mark Ian Singson on Selecting the Right Telescope.

This presentation and discussion is part of an ongoing series of topics that was determined to be of interest as the result of our lectures series.
  • Brief history of telescopes
  • Telescope fundamentals
  • Telescope types
  • Telescope mounts
  • Telescope accessories
  • Tips for buying your first telescope
History of Telescopes: the inventors and First known use for astronomical purpose
Three important questions to keep in mind
  • What do you want to look at?
  • Where will you be observing from?
  • How much money do you want to spend?
Some telescope fundamentals and terms
  • Aperture, how does this affect things
  • Magnification, how to calculate and what is reasonable for a given telescope
  • Power isn’t the whole question, how is the “seeing”?
  • Is bigger always better?
  • Scopes of all sizes and shapes
  • The basic principals of the three major telescope types
  • Refractor, Reflector & Catadioptric
  • Telescope mounts
  • Tilt and Pan (Alt-Az) or German equatorial
  • Manual, Driven or Go-To positioning
  • What’s in a finder scope?
  • Everything has tradeoffs and a price tag
  • Conclusions:  what is right for you?

The event ended at around 7:00pm with ALP NAW Chairman Andrew Ian Chan thanking the members and guests as well as Rizal Technological University and RTU Astronmomical Society for hosting this year's Philippine Astronomy Convention.

The planned free public stargazing session at Sm By The Bay North Fountain area was cancelled due to bad weather.


ALP Directors and Member's Group Shot with 2017 Father Victor L. Badillo Astronomy Service Awardee Dr. Jesus Rodrigo F. Torres.

ALP NAW Philippine Astronomy Convention Group Shot



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