More than 230 participants composed of professional and nonprofessional astronomers, professors, and students filled up the Plenary Hall area of the Rizal Technological University (RTU) in Mandaluyong City last February 15, 2009 for the First Philippine Astronomy Convention (PAC 2009).

Hosted by the Astronomical League of the Philippines (ALP), PAC 2009 serves as a venue for all astronomers and astronomy-related organizations, institutions, and agencies in the country to exchange ideas, and discuss matters on astronomy and astrophysics. The convention is held during the National Astronomy Week (NAW), a weeklong celebration participated by numerous astronomical organizations, institutions, schools, and universities in the country.

Representatives from various schools such as Rizal Technological University, Cavite State University, Cayetano Science High School, Valenzuela City Science High School, Trinity University of Asia – High School, Pasig City Science High School, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, University of the Philippines Integrated School, Asian Institute of Computer Studies, as well as members of Philippine Astronomical Society, National Institute of Physics, and International Year of Astronomy – National Organzing Committee (IYA-NOC) were present to grace the event.

RTU Vice President Dr. Jesus Rodrigo Torres led the ribbon cutting ceremony with ALP president James Kevin Ty, ALP NAW Chairman Dr. Armando Lee and ALP PRO Alice Villa-Real. This was followed by the opening remarks given by Dr. Torres, who spoke in behalf of RTU President Dr. Jose Macaballug.

Different topics were discussed during the convention:

International Year of Astronomy 2009 Celebration at Paris, France
– Ms. Pauline Pearl Divinagracia, delegate, International Year of Astronomy 2009

Course Offerings In Astronomy In The Philippines
– Dr. Jesus Rodrigo Torres, RTU Vice President

Ethno-Astronomy in the Philippines
– Dr. Dante Ambrosio of UP Department of History

Sidewalk Astronomers celebrates IYA2009 (100HA, Global Star Party, IYA)
– Dr. Armando Lee, ALP NAW Chairman and Sidewalk Astronomers’ 100 Hours of Astronomy Philippines Coordinator

EQMOD Software
– Engr. Raymund Sarmiento, ALP

Jupiter’s Oval BA (Red Spot Jr.,)
– Mr. Christopher Go, 2006 Father Leo Boethin Astronomy Achievement Awardee

The convention was concluded with the telescope exhibit and viewing session held at the RTU Grounds. More than 12 scopes were placed at the RTU school grounds to let the participants get a chance to view the night sky. The telescopes that were used include a WO Zenithstar 80 II refractor on EQ-4 mount, 80mm Orion ST80 refractor, TV-101 refractor on Vixen GP-D mount, TV-101 refractor on Vixen GP-D mount, Orion 5″ Apex Maksutov-Cassegrain telescope, and a Celestron 80WA refractor.

Astronomical exhibits were presented during the annual gathering, showcasing astronomical photographs taken by Filipino astronomers. Poster contributions from local and international scientists were also displayed to disseminate their activities and research outputs.

The First Philippine Astronomy Convention is in cooperation with Rizal Technological University, National Museum Planetarium, and the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).

For more details about the convention, please contact ALP President James Kevin Ty at (0917) 8559863, (0922) 8999ALP (257), ALP Education / NAW Chairman Dr. Armando Lee at (0917) 7922053, or visit the Astronomical League of the Philippines website at