August 29, 2008
Quezon City, Philippines
4:00 am – 5:18 am
The Thursday night observation with the U.P. Astrosoc kept my adrenaline active the whole night until the next morning.
I wanted to observe more and abuse the “rare” clarity of the sky. The unpredictability of the weather these days made me think that a clear sky was a miracle. For this reason, I decided to check Stellarium and saw that at 4:00 am, the thin waning crescent moon would be near the Beehive Cluster (located in Cancer) and that both will rise in the east.
I went up to our roof deck and stared in awe as my eyes navigated the myriad of stars shining down on me. The night sky was still clear – a lot clearer than the previous night. I couldn’t move nor speak out of amazement. It was too unbelievable. I just stood there with my head oriented towards the eastern sky. The constellations visible were Orion & Canis Major near the ABS-CBN tower (I was glad that at this time, the tower lights were off), Taurus, Auriga, Perseus, Canis Minor, and Gemini. It took me about 5 minutes to put myself together and set up my equipment for an hour observation.
While waiting for the moon to appear, I took images of the constellations using my digital camera. I love doing this even though I’ve pictured the stars several times already.
I just love those pinpoints of light. As a matter of fact, the lights coming from the stars have travelled a long long way just to reach my eyes hahaha! Moreover, looking at them through a telescope was like going back in time :D. Thus, I consider telescopes as time machines 😀. I was actually seeing light coming from celestial objects millions of years ago. Cool huh?
The thin crescent moon appeared around 4:40 am and I started to get pictures of it too. As soon as I finished, I immediately shifted my attention to the Beehive cluster. I always wanted to get an image of it but there was not enough time – the sun was already rising. I changed my plan and pointed my telescope to Orion nebula which was now high in the southeast. Somehow, I was amazed at how prominent the pinkish glow coming from this object was despite the brightening sky.
As I’ve said to my previous entries, I love a challenge when it comes to astronomy. I dared to take a picture of the Orion nebula (even though I had very few minutes left) using only a digital camera through my Astroscan telescope and holding it for 17 seconds. My hands should be steady as much as possible or a slight movement will surely distort the resulting image. I did this five times and wished that I could get a good image before sunrise. Afterwards, I checked my shots and I was surprised with one picture. The image wasn’t in good condition but I considered it somehow a decent picture of the Orion nebula (M42) or M43. Ah, another remembrance.
I ended my observation by taking pictures of the golden colored clouds near the eastern horizon.
Ad Astra Per Aspera!