A Night of Wonder
August 28, 2008
PAGASA Observatory, U.P. Diliman
The afternoon sky looked good according to Cyrus and Bea’s text messages. For this reason, I decided to observe again at the PAGASA Observatory despite my lack of sleep.
I brought my three-year old Orion Alt-Az Refractor Telescope for the observation despite its chromatic aberration and defective EZ Finder scope. I guess these were the reasons why I decided to use it again. I love a challenge sometimes.
As soon as I arrived at the U.P. Astrosoc tambayan, Venus and Cyrus greeted me with sparkling eyes (hahaha!). Atchong, Rona and Regyn arrived moments later and joined us in our night sky observation. We set up three telescopes – the two telescope owned by U.P. Astrosoc and my Orion. Our target list included Mercury, Venus, Mars and Jupiter.
The low western sky was fully covered with clouds, making it impossible to view Venus, Mercury and Mars. Fortunately, Jupiter was high enough in the south and the view in that part of the sky was clear.
We aimed our scopes at Jupiter (which was then located in Sagittarius) and identified its moons using Stellarium (thanks Rona for the laptop!). All four Galilean moons were visible. Next, we tried to view two deep-sky objects: Messier 7 and Messier 6 (Butterfly cluster), both are star clusters, in the constellation Scorpius.
While observing these celestial objects, the applicants and other members gladly joined us. Everyone was able to see Jupiter’s bands and moons plus M6 and M7 using the three telescopes. Most of them saw the giant planet and star clusters for the first time. Everyone was happy and, at the same time, curious. They wanted to see more objects. The night was indeed filled with “oohs”, “aahs” and “wow”.
This experience has brought back memories of my first encounter with the heavens. Jupiter and the two deep-sky objects in Scorpius were also among the first (aside from the moon) celestial objects I saw using my Orion Scope.