Wandering through the realms of the cosmos, pondering its huge vastness

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Celebrate World Space Week 2012!

Join the largest annual public space event on Earth!

World Space Week (WSW)  is an annual observance held from October 4 to October 10 established by the United Nations General Assembly to be an international celebration of science and technology and their contribution to the betterment of the human condition.

The start and end dates of World Space Week recognize the launch of the first human-made Earth satellite, Sputnik 1, on October 4, 1957; and the signing of the Outer Space Treaty on October 10, 1967.

UP Astronomical Society members held this WSW banner which contained the theme, “50 Years in Space” during the celebration of the World Space Week in the Philippines last 2007 (source: upastrosoc.multiply.com)

Every year, the World Space Week Association, in coordination with the United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs, selects a theme that participants are asked to incorporate into their World Space Week events. The theme for World Space Week 2012 is “Space for Human Safety and Security.” All World Space Week participants are requested to: 1) Plan World Space Week programs that address this theme in some way; 2) Incorporate this theme into all of their World Space Week publicity materials.

Various WSW events will be  hosted by local participating organizations. In the Philippines, there are 11 registered events for WSW 2012. Everyone is invited to attend these events.

For more information about the WSW celebration, please visit http://www.worldspaceweek.org/. You may also follow @WorldSpaceWeek on Twitter and use the hashtag #wsw2012 in your tweets.

To infinity and beyond!  :D


Closest Encounter of Venus and Jupiter in 2012

If you’ve been looking west after sunset recently you can’t have failed to see Venus blazing there so bright, outshining everything else in the sky. To Venus’ upper left is another bright” star”, which is actually another planet, Jupiter.

Jupiter and Venus - 8 degrees apart. Image captured 5 March 2012 at 6:45 pm.

These two bright planets visible in the night sky have been putting on quite a show this past month as they have been slowly getting closer together in the western sky just after sunset.

Next week, Venus and Jupiter will be MUCH closer than they are now. :)

On March 15, an impressive celestial show at twilight will surprise sky observers as these two planets reach what astronomers call conjunction – the closest they can appear in the sky together.

Getting closer - 5 degrees apart. Image taken 9 March 2012 at 6:24 pm.

The pair of planets will appear to be only 3 degrees apart in the western sky. That is equal to the width of your three middle fingers at arms’ length. Their proximity in the sky is an illusion, of course, as Venus is 180 million km away from Earth and Jupiter is more than 600 million km farther away.

After their mid March close encounter, the two planets will quickly go pass each other – Jupiter dropping down towards the horizon, getting closer to the Sun, while Venus moves higher up in the sky, moving away from the Sun, and brightening as it does so.

The next Venus-Jupiter conjunction after this one falls on May 28, 2013.

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Beauty Without Borders: Conjunction of Glory

13 – 15 March 2012

The Jupiter-Venus conjunction on March 15 will be quite a spectacle, as both planets are very bright. This will be a fantastic visual and photographic opportunity, as it’s not often that you get the brightest planets in our Solar System so close together.

In line with this, Astronomers Without Borders (AWB), in collaboration with Amateur Astronomers Association of Kurdistan & Opportunity Astronomical Observatory (Iraq), presents “Beauty without Borders: Conjunction of Glory”.

All the amateur/professional groups out there are invited to participate and enjoy the beautiful views.

Participate by hold an observing night with your local astronomy group or do a backyard astronomy session with your family and friend. Take your scope to the street for a “guerilla-astronomy” session.

Connect:
Join the conversation on Twitter @awb_org using #VenusJupiter with other groups around the world. Post your images on our Flickr or Facebook page.

Chat by NASA on 25 March 2012

Join and share with your friends!

Clear skies!

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Here is a video from Newsy.com to help you know more about this event: http://www.newsy.com/videos/venus-and-jupiter-set-for-cosmic-meetup/


AWB March 2012 Events

Global Astronomy Month 2012 (www.gam-awb.org) is merely a month away. Astronomers Without Borders (AWB) has organized three exciting events in March to do the warm-ups!

Spread the word and join in.

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“Hello Red Planet”

3-5 March 2012

Mars will come into Opposition on March 3, 2012 in the constellation Leo with its face fully illuminated by the Sun and two days later, on March 5, 2012, the planet will have its closest approach to Earth during this apparition: 100.78 million km (0.6737 AU)—the best time to say “Hello” to the Red Planet.

Read more…

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“Conjunction of Glory”

13 – 15 March 2012

Venus and Jupiter, the two brightest planets in the sky, will be within 3 degrees of each other in the evening sky of 15 March 2012 at 10:37:46 UTC.  This will be quite a spectacle, as both planets are very bright—and this will be a fantastic visual and photographic opportunity, as it’s not often that you get the brightest planets in our Solar System so close together. 

The next Venus-Jupiter conjunction after this one falls on May 28, 2013. 

Read more…

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“March Equinox 2012″

20 March 2012

The March equinox occurs at 05:14 UTC, Tuesday 20 March.  The Sun will shine directly down on the Earth’s equator and there will be nearly equal amounts of day and night throughout the world.  This is also the first day of spring (Vernal Equinox) in the northern hemisphere and the first day of fall (Autumnal Equinox) in the southern hemisphere.

Wherever you are on 20 March, 2012, celebrate your season in the cycle of life with Astronomers Without Borders.  Enjoy your own unique Equinox this year—and why not tell others about the experience?

Read more…

To the stars! :)

More about GAM 2012:


National Astronomy Week 2012 in the Philippines

The National Astronomy Week (NAW), which is celebrated annually every third week of February (Presidential Proclamation No. 130), falls on 20-24 February 2012 this year.  The theme of this year celebration is “Viewing the Sky… Enhancing our Knowledge!”.

Lots of fun and educational activities have been prepared by different amateur astronomy groups this year which makes this year’s celebration more exciting.

Below is a list of NAW 2012 activities organized by various Philippine astronomy organizations.

For more information or for other inquiries, kindly leave a comment or visit the online pages of the respective organizations.

Clear skies and happy NAW!

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PAGASA

PAGASA will celebrate the NAW with a week-long activity which will be highlighted by the following:

1.  Free Planetarium Show
2.  Stargazing and Telescoping Sessions
3.  Star Party contest for (8) Public & Private School Science Club Members at the PAGASA  
     Observatory (First-come, first-serve basis)
4.  Distribution of posters in Astronomy to visiting schools at the Planetarium and
     Astronomical Observatory, free of charge.

Reservations for the Planetarium will be made at the PAGASA Central Office on a first-come, first-served basis.

Stargazing and telescoping sessions will be from 7:00 to 11:00 pm every night at the Astronomical Observatory, UP Compound, Diliman, Quezon City.  The public, especially the students and teachers are invited to the sessions.

2012 Star Party Contest for Highschool Students

In connection with the celebration of the National Astronomy Week on 20-24 February 2012, The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), will conduct a Star Party Contest for the eight (8) Public & Private High Schools (first-come, first-served basis) on 24 February 2012 at 3:00 P.M. until dawn at the PAGASA Astronomical Observatory, U.P. Compound, Diliman, Quezon City.

The contest will be open to high school students, both public and private from Metro Manila.  The maximum number of contestants is nine (9) students who should be members of their Science Club and one (1) Science Adviser.

Star Party Contest Rules and Regulation will be given/discussed upon registration of the eight (8) participating schools on 24 February 2012.

Prizes at Stake:

1st Prize:                    P5,000.00
2nd Prize:                   P4,000.00
3rd Prize:                    P3,000.00
5 Consolation Prize:     P2,000.00

Certificates of participation will be issued to all contestants.

For further inquiries, please contact Engr. Dario Dela Cruz, Chief, Space Science and Astronomy Section at telephone number 434-2715 or visit our website at http://www.pagasa.dost.gov.ph

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Astronomical League of the Philippines (ALP)

For more inquiries on ALP NAW activities, please contact NAW Chairman / SecretaryChristopher Louie Lu at (0919) 3057176 or ALP President James Kevin Ty at (0917) 8559863 or (0922) 8999ALP (257).

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 Philippine Astronomical Society (PAS)

Registration for the different competitions can be done by e-mailing your confirmation together with the list of participants to pasnaw2012@yahoo.com. You may contact PAS President, Ian Allas at 09063165154 or 09391682834.

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UP Astronomical Society (UP AstroSoc)

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UPLB Astronomical Society (UPLB AstroSoc)

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Rizal Technological University (RTU)

National Astronomy Week Celebration in RTU:

Feb. 14: Opening

Feb. 15: Planetarium Show

Feb. 16: Exhibit Day

Feb. 17: Closing


IAU Gala Night at the NIDO Fortified Science Discovery Center

Last October 21, 2011, I attended the International Astronomical Union (IAU) Formal Gala Dinner  at the Science Discovery Center in SM Mall of Asia, Pasay City.

Fellow members from my org, UP Astronomical Society; professors and students from different universities namely UPLB, RTU, and DLSU; astronomy educators, and amateur astronomers were also attendees of this gathering.

IAU Gala Night – October 21, 2011

The event’s theme was ‘Astronomy for Development’. It aimed to educate and promote awareness of Astronomy among Filipinos. It was also to inform the people about the importance of astronomy and to let them know the latest development and innovation in the field.

Speakers were Dr. Rogel Mari Sese, Head of Astrophysics Lab in the Institute of Mathematical Sciences and Physics, UPLB; and Dr. Kevin Govender, the current Director of the IAU Office of Astronomy for Development.

Before proceeding with  the talks, a short  planetarium show entitled “New Horizons” was played to entertain the audience. It was an all-dome-video experience that features a majestic journey through our celestial neighborhood.

Dr. Sese was the first one to deliver a talk. He discussed several key ideas in pursuing Astronomy as a profession particularly in the Philippines. He further explained that having a career in astronomy is challenging and highlighted a few important points on what in takes to be an astronomer. These, according to him are the following:

  • Passion – main motivation for one to learn
  • Plan – [Because] the learning journey is long
  • Perseverance – main motivation for one to finish

He finished his talk my leaving this inspiring message: “Be passionate and patient. It’s all worth it in the end.”

Meanwhile, Dr. Govender gave a talk about the importance of astronomy in the society. He also mentioned the current promotional strategies of IAU to  stimulate people in astronomy and to establish Astronomy Education, Research, and Outreach in developing countries such as the Philippines. Moreover, he emphasized several important points about Astronomy and Science:
“Astronomy stretches our imagination.”
“Science is about exploring God’s universe.”
“Astronomy for a better world.”

A short open forum was eventually held after the talks to allow questions from the audience. A lot of curious questions about astrophysics have been asked by several students until after the formal dinner.

All in all, the event was truly a great and memorable experience.

I’m glad that IAU is still taking its commitment in expanding astronomy development programs in areas where astronomy is still an emerging and minor field (such as in the Southeast Asian (SEA) region), even after the successful International Year of Astronomy (IYA 2009) was over. At the same time, I’m also proud that the Philippines is already taking part in holding activities such as this which enable  young astronomers and students in particular, to further develop their interest in the field.

The purpose of this office is to use astronomy to make the world a better place!

I hope that there would be more scientific collaborations such as this one, in the near future  that could stimulate the rapid growth of science among developing societies.

Ad astra per aspera!


GAM 2011 Program Schedule

Wondering what projects are included in this year’s Global Astronomy Month? Check out this programs list. :)

Click on the links below for more information on each program.

Date / Time Program
March 24 to 4 April Globe at Night – Northern Hemisphere
March 24 to 6 April Globe at Night – Southern Hemisphere
1 April Online Messier Marathon: Observe all the Messier objects remotely
1 to 8 April International Dark Skies Week
1 to 30 April 30 Nights of StarPeace
2 April Around the Ringed Planet: Observe Saturn remotely
2 to 3 April Beatuy without Borders – Saturn Watch
9 April Global Star Party
9 April Stars for All: Observe deepsky objects remotely
10 April Opticks: A live audio-visual radio transmission performance between Earth & Moon
10 and 11 April NASA “Voyage into Deep Space” 2011 – Live Webcast with Sonification
10 to 16 April Lunar Week
12 April Walking on the Moon: Observe Moon remotely
12 April Yuri’s Night – 50th Anniversary of Human Space Flight
17 April SunDay
17 April Here Comes the Sun: Observe Sun remotely
20 April World Night in Defence of the Starlight
21 to 22 April Meteors without Borders – Lyrids Watch 2011
28 April, 20:00UT Cosmic Concert – Online Musical Concert
30 April Write Your Name in the Sky!: Observe asteroids remotely
Throughout April One Star at a Time – Fight Light Pollution
Throughout April MoonDays
Throughout April Astronomy without Barriers – programs for people with disabilities
Throughout April Planetarian without Borders
Throughout April Astropoetry for Global Astronomy Month
Throughout April International Earth and Sky Photo Contest
Throughout April Dark Skies Rangers
Throughout April GAM Dark Skies Awareness Programs

Register Your GAM Event Here

Spread the word and join the largest celebration of astronomy world-wide! :)


GAM 2011 Begins!

Global Astronomy Month 2011 has begun with events taking place worldwide.

The GAM Blog has launched.  The first article , The Universe, Ours to Discover, was contributed by Astronomers Without Borders’ Founder and President Mike Simmons who describes the road from IYA2009 to GAM 2011.  A great group of authors, outreach professionals and scientists have been invited to write for the GAM Blog throughout April.

Global Events so far
March 24 to 4 April – Globe at Night – Northern Hemisphere
March 24 to 6 April – Globe at Night – Southern Hemisphere
1 April – Online Messier Marathon : Observe all the Messier objects remotely
1 to 8 April – International Dark Skies Week
1 to 30 April – 30 Nights of StarPeace
2 April – Around the Ringed Planet : Observe Saturn remotely
2 to 3 April – Beatuy without Borders – Saturn Watch

Global Events Coming Soon

9 April – Global Star Party
Join amateur astronomers around the world in a 24-hour night of taking astronomy to the public!

9 April – Stars for All : Observe Deep Sky Objects Remotely
Bad weather, no telescope or through for the night?  Join thousands of others observing from home through this special online remote observing event

10 to 16 April – Lunar Week
A wide range of programs, events, contests and some special surprises focusing on our closets neighbor in space.  Stay tuned for more announcements.

17 April — SunDay
A project intended to raise people’s awareness of our star.  What is it?  How does it affect us?  The different layers of the Sun, solar activity (sunspots, flares, prominences, coronal mass ejections and the solar wind), space weather, energy production, helioseismology—these are all different aspects of the Sun waiting to be discovered and understood.

See the GAM Program Schedule for all GAM Global Programs.


Sponsorship Opportunities Available

For information on sponsorship opportunities for Global Astronomy Month 2011 or specific programs during GAM see the GAM Sponsorship page or contact Mike Simmons .

Register Your GAM Event Now

Let everyone know about your events for Global Astronomy Month 2011 (GAM2011).

To register your event you must be logged in to an AWB user account.  Just click to register your event here. If you are not logged in you’ll be taken to a page where you can log in or create an AWB user account before going on to the event registration page.

For detailed information on how to register your event, click on the “How to Register Your Event” Instruction page.

Important Notes for Successful Registration:

  1. GAM events should be within the Global Astronomy Month dates of April 1-30.  If you have an event outside of these dates that is part of the Global Astronomy Month celebration please contact Jennie McCormick .
  2. Check your Google Map “push pin” placement once your event has been registered.  If it is not placed correctly, first double-check the address you have entered for errors. You can also move the pin on the Google Map until it is correctly placed.

GAM2011 Posters Available

If you have events during Global Astronomy Month, here are two posters to help you tell the public about all the exciting activities.

The posters are available for download by clicking on the above images.  Or go to the GAM Resources page where you can also find other useful material such as logos, banners, stickers and more.

If you’re still thinking about how to get involved in our global celebration of astronomy, we have 10 tips for you.

Poster credits:

Original concept and final layout by Ricardo Cardoso Reis

Design by David Occhino

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More information:

For further information please contact:

Mike Simmons
President, Astronomers Without Borders
Chair, GAM2011 Working Group
mike@gam-awb.org
+1 818 486 7633

Thilina Heenatigala
GAM2011 Coordinator
thilina@gam-awb.org
+94 716 245 545

Oana Sandu
GAM2011 Public Relations Coordinator
oana@gam-awb.org
+40 724 024 625


10 Ways to Get Involved in Global Astronomy Month 2011

Wondering what you can do during Global Astronomy Month 2011? Check 10 Ways you could get involved!

April 2011 is rapidly approaching and Astronomers Without Borders from all around the globe are busy organizing events to mark the celebration of the month dedicated to astronomy and the beauty of observing the sky.  Join them in this global pursuit of sharing the Universe with everyone under the motto One People, One Sky.

 

If you are still wondering how to get involved, here are a few ideas:

  1. Check the list of GAM global events and see which ones you could participate in. The pool of choices is diverse: from star parties to solar observations, from remote observing sessions to cosmic concerts, competitions and cultural events. All these events are opportunities for your local astronomy club, planetarium or public observatory to take part in an international project and attract the local community to your venue.
  2. Create an event to go along with one of the global programs, or something of your own. Share your event with the world and those in your area looking for GAM events by registering your event on the GAM website with a short description. If it’s something especially exciting or innovative let us know and we might include it on the GAM blog.
  3. Discover the Universe from the comfort of your own home. GAM offers two ways to enjoy remote observing. Join online, live events with real-time narration. Or take control for personal observing through remotely controlled telescopes or images on demand. See Remote Observing.
  4. If you’re a teacher, take your class to one of the events happening during Lunar Week (April 10-16)—for example, SunDay(April 7) or an evening observing session. Your students will be fascinated to discover the sky above.  And be prepared to get a lot of questions from them!
  5. Organize a night out with your family. We recommend Lyrids Watch (April 21/22), as you can get confortable and warm right in front of your porch, and spend some family time together while gazing at the sky in search of falling stars.
  6. Instead of a night out in a club, take your friends to a different party, a Global Star Party (April 9). You will have the chance to meet Saturn and the Moon, as well as galaxies and star clusters.
  7. Spread the word about Global Astronomy Month among your family, friends, classmates, workmates, and neighbors so that they too can wonder at the beauties of the Universe.
  8. Stay in touch by following our website and blog. Join the conversation on Twitter by using #GAM2011, share your pictures on Flickr or become our friend on Facebook.
  9. Write an article about GAM if you are a journalist or a blogger and inform your readers about the events taking place near them in April.
  10. Become a sponsor of this international campaign. There are sponsorships opportunities throughout GAM2011, both for the entire month and for select, targeted programs. Download the GAM 2011 Sponsorship Package or contact AWB President Mike Simmons for more information.

Join the celebration in April 2011 as Global Astronomy Month brings together thousands of passionate individuals and hundreds of organizations worldwide to share their enthusiasm in innovative new ways, connecting people through a great sense of sharing the Universe!

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More information:

 


Celebrate the Sun-Earth Day 2011

Sun-Earth Day is comprised of a series of programs and events that occur throughout the year culminating with a celebration on or near the Spring Equinox.

This year’s theme , ‘Ancient Mysteries-Future Discoveries’, opens the door to a much deeper understanding of our Sun and its impact across the ages.

Read more about SED 2011 and know how you can get involved in this project here.


Skywatching Highlights: March 2011

March is filled with several exciting conjunctions, lunar occultations, planetary displays and other celestial events which will take place alongside with some big astronomy-related projects geared toward promoting the appreciation of the night sky to many people globally.

March Event Time Notes
5 New Moon 04:45 AM
6 Moon at apogee (farthest distance to Earth) 04:00 PM
7 Final close pairing of Jupiter and the moon for 2011
10 Moon shines near the Pleiades star cluster
11 Moon near star Aldebaran
12 Moon in between Capella and Betelgeuse
12 Juno at Opposition 6:00 PM
13 Moon shines in front of Winter Hexagon
13-18 Close pairing of Mercury and Jupiter dusk These appear low in western horizon
13 First Quarter Moon 07:45 AM
15 Gamma Normids Active from Feb 25 – Mar 22. ZHR 6
16 Minimum separation Mercury Jupiter dusk Mercury 2° to the left of Jupiter
16 Mercury 2° North of the Moon 01:00 AM
17 Lunar occultation of omicron Leonis Start: 6:20 PM End: 07:10 PM
17 Moon and Regulus are less than 10 degrees apart
19 Sun-Earth Day
20 Full Moon 02:10 AM This will also be the largest full moon of the year because it will be near perigee, its closest point to the Earth.
21 Vernal Equinox 07:20 AM
22

6th worldwide GLOBE at Night 2011 campaign

March 22 -April 4 for the Northern Hemisphere

23 Moon near red star Antares before dawn
23 Mercury greatest elongation East(19°) 09:00 AM
26 Last Quarter Moon 08:10 PM
26 Earth Hour 2011 8:30 PM
31 Venus 6° South of the Moon 09:00 PM

Note: Dates and sky displays are based on Philippine settings. Philippine Standard Time (PST) = UT + 8

 

Astronomy Terms:

Occultation – An event that occurs when one object is hidden by another object that passes between it and the observer.

Opposition – When two celestial bodies are on opposite sides of the sky when viewed from a particular place (usually the Earth).

  • it is visible almost all night, rising around sunset, culminating around midnight and setting around sunrise;
  • at this point of its orbit it is roughly[1] closest to the Earth, making it appear bigger and brighter.
  • the half of the planet visible from Earth is then completely illuminated (“full planet”)
  • the opposition effect increases the reflected light from bodies with unobscured rough surfaces
Greatest  (Eastern) Elongation When an inferior planet is visible after sunset, it is near its greatest eastern elongation. A planet’s elongation is the angle between the Sun and the planet, as viewed from Earth
Vernal Equinox The Sun will shine directly on the equator and there will be nearly equal amounts of day and night throughout the world. This is also the first day of spring (vernal equinox) in the northern hemisphere and the first day of fall (autumnal equinox) in the southern hemisphere

 

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References:

  1. EarthSky.org
  2. PAGASA Astronomical Diary — March 2011
  3. Philippine Celestial Events for 2011 (by PAS)
  4. SeaSky.org
  5. Wikipedia Encyclopedia

6th worldwide GLOBE at Night 2011 campaign

Originally posted by Thilina Heenatigala in Universe Cafe


With half of the world’s population now living in cities, many urban dwellers have never experienced the wonderment of pristinely dark skies and maybe never will. This loss, caused by light pollution, is a concern on many fronts: safety, energy conservation, cost, health and effects on wildlife, as well as our ability to view the stars. Even though light pollution is a serious and growing global concern, it is one of the easiest environmental problems you can address on local levels.

Participation in the international star-hunting campaign, GLOBE at Night, helps to address the light pollution issue locally as well as globally. This year, 2 sets of campaigns are being offered. For the first campaign from February 21 through March 6, 2011, everyone all over the world is invited to record the brightness of the night sky. The second campaign runs from March 22 through April 4 in the Northern Hemisphere and March 24 through April 6 in the Southern Hemisphere. The campaign is easy and fun to do. First, you match the appearance of the constellation Orion in the first campaign (and Leo or Crux in the second campaign) with simple star maps of progressively fainter stars found. Then you submit your measurements, including the date, time, and location of your comparison. After all the campaign’s observations are submitted, the project’s organizers release a map of light-pollution levels worldwide. Over the last five annual 2-week campaigns, volunteers from more than 100 nations contributed 52,000 measurements, one third of which came from last year’s campaign.

To learn the five easy steps to participate in the GLOBE at Night program, see the GLOBE at Night website. You can listen to last year’s 10-minuteaudio podcast on light pollution and GLOBE at Night. Or download a 45-minute powerpoint and accompanying audio. GLOBE at Night is also onFacebook and Twitter.

The big news is that children and adults can submit their measurements in real time if they have a smart phone or tablet. To do this, you can use theweb application. With smart phones and tablets, the location, date and time are put in automatically. And if you do not have a smart phone or tablet, there are user-friendly tools on the GLOBE at Night report page to find latitude and longitude.

For activities that have children explore what light pollution is, what its effects are on wildlife and how to prepare for participating in the GLOBE at Night campaign, see the Dark Skies Rangers activities. Monitoring our environment will allow us as citizen-scientists to identify and preserve the dark sky oases in cities and locate areas where light pollution is increasing. All it takes is a few minutes during the 2011 campaign to measure sky brightness and contribute those observations on-line. Help us exceed the 17,800 observations contributed last year. Your measurements will make a world of difference.

Resources:
GLOBE at Night website.
- Follow GaN on Twitter (use #lightpollution and #darkskies to Tweet).
- Join GaN on Facebook.
Star Maps for GaN campaign.
Submitting Measurements.
Web App for Reporting.
Audio Podcast on GaN.
Powerpoint presentation on GaN.
Accompanying Audio for the Powerpoint presentation.
Dark Skies Activities.


Go Beyond the Hour – Earth Hour 2011

At 8.30pm on Saturday 26 March 2011, Earth Hour will celebrate a worldwide commitment to ongoing change for the betterment of the one thing that unites us all – the planet.

Your journey can start here by signing up and adding your voice to the hundreds of millions across the globe who have already spoken with their actions.

Earth Hour started in 2007 in Sydney, Australia when 2.2 million individuals and more than 2,000 businesses turned their lights off for one hour to take a stand against climate change. Only a year later and Earth Hour had become a global sustainability movement with more than 50 million people across 35 countries participating. Global landmarks such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge, CN Tower in Toronto, Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, and Rome’s Colosseum, all stood in darkness, as symbols of hope for a cause that grows more urgent by the hour.

 

In March 2009, hundreds of millions of people took part in the third Earth Hour. Over 4000 cities in 88 countries officially switched off to pledge their support for the planet, making Earth Hour 2009 the world’s largest global climate change initiative.

On Saturday 27 March, Earth Hour 2010 became the biggest Earth Hour ever. A record 128 countries and territories joined the global display of climate action.

This Earth Hour 2011, we are all encouraged to go beyond the hour, so after the lights go back on think about what else you can do to make a difference.

Check out the inspiring Earth Hour 2011 video below to see what the planet’s voice looks like.

For more information, please visit http://earthhour.org/.

Remember, together our actions add up. :D

 

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To my fellow Filipinos, let’s join the campaign! Check out Earth Hour Pilipinas.


Global Astronomy Month 2011

Save the dates – April 2011 is Global Astronomy Month!

April 2011 will again be a busy month for amateur and professional astronomers, educators and astronomy enthusiasts as Global Astronomy Month (GAM) returns for its second edition. The annual event, organized by Astronomers Without Borders, celebrates the Universe in the spirit of the International Year of Astronomy 2009 cornerstone project “100 Hours of Astronomy.”

Astronomy clubs, science centers, schools, educators, and other astronomy enthusiasts worldwide are invited to reserve dates in April 2011 for public outreach, hands-on activities, observing sessions and more while sharing the enthusiasm with others across the globe during Global Astronomy Month. Everyone is invited either to join the global programs or initiate their own activities during April 2011.

This is the second edition of GAM, after its launch last year, when Astronomers Without Borders (AWB) coordinated seven global events dedicated to remote observing, fighting light pollution, world peace, observations of the sky and cultural manifestations, as well as encouraging the organization of local events.

Join the celebration in April 2011 as Global Astronomy Month brings together thousands of passionate individuals and hundreds of organizations worldwide to share their enthusiasm in innovative new ways, connecting people through a great sense of sharing the Universe! It’s a month of celebrating Astronomers Without Borders’ motto – One People, One Sky! :D

For information, please check out the following GAM2011 links:

 


2011 National Astronomy Week in the Philippines [UPDATED]

It’s almost February once again. To all Filipino amateur astronomers, this month is an important time of the year as this is when the astronomical community in the Philippines celebrates the annual National Astronomy Week. It is a week-long celebration every third week of February with discusions on astronomy as a hobby and science, telescope and photo exhibits, and stargazing sessions hosted by different astronomical organizations in the Philippines.

UP Astronomical Society’s projects and activities during the past NAW Celebrations (photos taken from upastrosociety.multiply.com)

How did it all start? Here’s a short quoted text from Philippine Astronomy Blog:

NAW History in the Philippines

“The idea of the National Astronomy Week, or NAW as popularly known to Filipino astronomers, was conceptualized by Edwin Aguirre and Imelda Joson, then members of the Philippine Astronomical Society, the oldest non-university based astronomy club in the Philippines. You might recognize them as the two Filipino amateur astronomers who had an asteroid named after them, asteroid 6282 “Edwelda”. Francisco Lao, also a former member of the Philippine Astronomical Society, worked for the celebration to become a yearly event. And with the efforts of these and other veteran stargazers, Presidential Proclamation No. 130, was signed by former President Fidel V. Ramos declaring the third week of February of every year as National Astronomy Week.

Since then, a number of individuals and astronomy societies have joined the NAW celebrations. The Astronomical League of the Philippines (ALP) hosts symposiums at the Manila Planetarium and stargazing activities around Manila Bay area. Edwin and Imelda are currently honorary members of the ALP, and Francisco “Jun” Lao serves as editor of the society’s newsletter, ALPha. University-based organizations, such as the UP, RTU, MIAS, PNU and PLM astronomical societies also conduct lectures and observing sessions aimed as showing the wonders of the heavens to ordinary people, with the hope of inspiring them to become amateur astronomers.”

The theme of this year’s 18th NAW celebration is “Astronomy Transforming the Culture of Learning Toward Nation Building”.

In line with this, different astronomy organizations in the Philippines have prepared several activities to encourage the involvement of the public in celebrating this event.  To view a list of some of this year’s NAW activities and projects which you might want to participate in, please visit the site of the Philippine Astronomical Society or check out this schedule of activities by Leogiver Mañosca of PAS.

Cheers to all those groups who are preparing for this big event. :D To the stars!

 

 

Note: Please check this site for updates on the events’ date and venues. :)

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References:

Astronomical League of the Philippines

Philippine Astronomy Blog

Philippine Astronomical Society


Wave at the International Space Station

The International Space Station (ISS) has been orbiting the Earth over 15 times a day for more than ten years. Although it is about 390 km high, we can still see it from the Earth, thanks to the Sun reflecting off the solar arrays. There are various ways you can work out when it will be possible to see it from where you are, including Heavens AboveTwisstNASAESAand Over Twitter. You might also check your local weather forecast. The ISS is bright, but not bright enough to be seen through the clouds!

ISS Wave is a round-the-world wave to the humans aboard the International Space Station (ISS) by their fellow humans on the Earth to express human solidarity during the holidays. It was choreographed by a grassroots Twitter campaign (@ISSwave).

To learn more about this campaign, you may visit its website.

Last December 22, 2010, I saw the ISS pass close to Jupiter at around 6:00 PM (10:00 UT) over Marikina City. I came from the southwest and was almost as bright as Jupiter. Unfortunately, I was not able to take an image of that stunning event which is sad because as I checked earlier while writing this blog there will be no ISS pass in our area in the Philippines until February.

Anyway, here are some images of the recent ISS flyby taken from the other part of the globe, courtesy of Tavi Greiner. You can also visit her astronomy website, A Sky Full of Stars to see her other nice images.

 

Thank you again to Tavi for allowing me to use these two beautiful captures of the ISS and for telling me about the ISS wave campaign. :)

Clear skies to all!


Get ready for the Great Worldwide Star Count! – Oct. 29 to Nov. 12, 2010

Mark your calendars and plan on joining thousands of other students, families, and citizen scientists counting stars this season! :D

The Great World Wide Star Count encourages everyone to go outside, look skyward after dark, note the stars in certain constellations, and report what they could see online. Star Count is designed to raise awareness about the night sky and encourage learning in astronomy. All the information needed to participate is available on the Star Count Web site.

Five Simple Steps to Star Count:
1. Determine which constellation to observe
2. Find that constellation at night an hour after sunset (about 7-9pm local time)
3. Match your nighttime sky with one of our magnitude charts
4. Report what you see online
5. View results of this international event

For complete steps, be sure to  download the 2010 Activity Guide (available in 8 languages).

Participation involves use of a simple protocol and an easy data entry form. During the first three years, over 31,000 individuals from 64 countries and all 7 continents participated in this campaign to measure light pollution globally.

What can you see when you look up at the nighttime sky? Do you see stars, constellations, satellites, or the Milky Way? For many people around the world, the Milky Way is something known only through books and pictures, not something visible in their nighttime sky. Astronomers have long known that light pollution impairs our ability to clearly see the night skies and now the general public is also experiencing this phenomenon. Light pollution is often described as an undesirable byproduct of our industrialized civilization. It is a broad term that refers to multiple problems, all of which are caused by inefficient, annoying, or arguably unnecessary use of artificial light. But making it hard for astronomers and amateur skywatchers to view the stars is just one of the problems it causes. According to the website:

  • The energy used to produce the light that escapes into space is wasted.
  • The change in natural patterns of light and dark can impact animal behavior in the wild.
  • Medical research suggests excessive indoor light can cause headaches, fatigue, and stress.

At the conclusion of the event, maps and datasets will be generated highlighting the results of this exciting citizen science campaign.

Taking part in this event is free and open to everyone. :D 

 

Light pollution occurs when artificial illumination washes out our view of the night sky. But making it hard for astronomers and amateur skywatchers to view the stars is just one of the problems it causes. According to the website:

  • The energy used to produce the light that escapes into space is wasted.
  • The change in natural patterns of light and dark can impact animal behavior in the wild.
  • Medical research suggests excessive indoor light can cause headaches, fatigue, and stress.

Read More http://www.wired.com/geekdad/2008/10/great-world-wid/#ixzz13PWpY5Dl


“Moon, Venus and Lightning” in InOMN Photo Contest!

A photo entry of my friend and fellow UP AstroSoc member, Andre Obidos has been chosen as  as one of the Top 5 entries for the Beginner-Landscape Category of the International Observe the Moon Night (InOMN) Lunr Photo Contest.

Please support him by voting for his photo, Moon, Venus and Lightning” .

"Moon, Venus and Lightning" by Andre Obidos (click to enlarge photo)

To vote, please visit the link below. Choose his entry under the Beginner-Landscape Category.

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/inomn_photo_contest (voting site)

To view the other 2010 Photo Contest submissions , ( which included mine and photos of another UP AstroSoc member, Bea Banzuela) visit the InOMN MyMoon Lunr Flickr Gallery

Voting will close October 1, 2010 at 5 p.m. CDT. The winners of each category will become finalists for the grand prize. The grand prize winner will be chosen by public voting which will take place October 4 through October 8, 2010.

The International Observe the Moon Night was celebrated world-wide last September 18, 2010.

Good luck to all the participants! :D

* * *

The image was taken from Marikina City, Philippines using Canon PowerShot SX20 IS. Photo details: 10 mm F/35, 1/8 sec. exposure at ISO 800.

as one of the Top 5 entries for the Beginner-Landscape Categoryas one of the Top 5 entries for the Beginner-Landscape Category


Celebrate the World Space Week on October!

World Space Week is an annual observance held from October 4 to October 10 established by the United Nations General Assembly to be an international celebration of science and technology and their contribution to the betterment of the human condition.

The start and end dates of World Space Week recognize the launch of the first human-made Earth satellite, Sputnik 1, on October 4, 1957; andthe signing of the Outer Space Treaty on October 10, 1967.

UP Astronomical Society members held this WSW banner which contained the theme, “50 Years in Space” during the celebration of the World Space Week in the Philippines last 2007 (upastrosoc.multiply.com)

The theme for World Space Week 2010 is “Mysteries of the Cosmos.”

All World Space Week participants are requested to:

1) Plan World Space Week programs that address this theme in some way

2) Incorporate this theme into all of your World Space Week publicity materials.

To infinity and beyond! :D

======

*from Wikipedia

World
Space Week is an annual observance held from October 4 to October 10
established by the United Nations General Assembly to be an
international celebration of science and technology and their
contribution to the betterment of the human condition.

The start and end dates of World Space Week recognize the launch of the
first human-made Earth satellite, Sputnik 1, on October 4, 1957; and
the signing of the Outer Space Treaty on October 10, 1967.

World

Space Week is an annual observance held from October 4 to October 10

established by the United Nations General Assembly to be an

international celebration of science and technology and their

contribution to the betterment of the human condition.

The start and end dates of World Space Week recognize the launch of the

first human-made Earth satellite, Sputnik 1, on October 4, 1957; and

the signing of the Outer Space Treaty on October 10, 1967.


Sunset and Moon Viewing by the Bay

For the celebration of the International Observe the Moon Night 2010, I decided to invite my fellow amateurs from UP AstroSoc to do our observation in an area behind the SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City which was also facing Manila Bay. The place has a very nice view of the western sky and it is in fact, known as one of the best places to watch the sun set. :D

We went to the mall as early as 4pm to visit a Book Fair which was ongoing then at the mall’s convention center. There were lots of good books  there which were in relatively lower prices including Astronomy books! I almost got tempted to buy one for myself. :P Haha.

By 5:30 PM, we went outside the mall to view the sunset. Luckily, the heavens granted my wish and it didn’t rain that day. As we were crossing a bridge on the way out, we saw the breath-taking view of the setting sun! (partly covered in clouds though)

(click to enlarge)

(click to enlarge)

(click to enlarge)

(click to enlarge)

click to enlarge

One of my friends, Bea Banzuela, created a time-lapse video of the spectacular view:

The moon then was already shining brightly near the zenith.

The Moon! :)

As the sky grew darker, we took advantage of our location by taking numerous landscape and wide-angle shots of the moon. After several hours, the moon was just about 40 degrees above the western horizon. Its reflection on the water was very nice. Surrounding constellations like Sagittarius and Scorpius were noticeable too despite the bright glare of the waxing gibbous moon.

Happy InOMN! (click to enlarge image)

Moon and the Fountain

The planet Venus dropping by to join the celebration (click to enlarge)

Moon by the Bay (click to enlarge image)

We had planned to stay there until the moon set but, since that would happen at around 2 in the morning, we left earlier than planned.

The Moon behind us :)

I would like to thank and congratulate the international organizers of this first InOMN. This event was truly an amazing way for us to see the moon in a different light and appreciate our closest neighbor in space.

Hoping for another successful year for the InOMN in 2011!

To the moon and beyond! :D


Luna’s Special Day — International Observe the Moon Night (InOMN) 2010

Today is the “International Observe the Moon Night” when people in all parts of the globe are encouraged to wait till dark and go outside and pay attention to our closest neighbor in space — the Moon. :) Me and my friends (and also fellow UP AstroSoc members) will set up our observation at the back of SM Mall of Asia in Pasay, near the Manila Bay. After watching the beautiful sunset by the bayside, we’ll focus on taking images of the moon for the InOMN Photo Contest. :P

Alright, there’s really no special happening on the moon later tonight, no spacecraft impact or a UFO flyby. But the “event” is more of a reminder to look up and appreciate what we sometimes take for granted. It’s goal is also to raise the awareness and interest of the public on the recent lunar research and exploration which has brought us a lot of new information about our space companion.

Let’s all see the moon in a whole new light! Observe the moon with your telescopes, binoculars or even just with naked eyes. Appreciate its beauty –  take note of it’s phase, the patterns and shades of it’s features. If you’re gonna use telescopes or binoculars, see its mountains and craters, Get involved and invite others! Why? Because so few people ever take the time to just look up and see the splendor of the creation stretching across the skies.

I have included here below some of the lunar photos which me and my fellow amateurs took before. :D Enjoy and clear skies!

Waxing Gibbous Moon (Click to enlarge)

Eclipsed Moon (Click to enlarge)

Venus and the Moon (Click to enlarge)

* * * * *

Some Quick Moon Facts…..

+ The distance From Earth is 363,301 kilometers (225,745 miles).

+ The radius of the moon is 1,738 kilometer (1,080 miles), the diameter is 3476 kilometers (2,160 miles).

+ Total weight: of the moon is 74 sextillion kilograms (81 Quintillion Tons).

+ The surface temperature at the equator during the day is 134oC (273o F), and at night is – 153o C (244o F)

+ Gravity at the surface of the moon is 1/6 that of the Earth.

+ The moon has no significant atmosphere or clouds.

+ Its surface is scarred from hundreds and thousands of meteors that have struck it over billions of years.

+ The Moon’s surface layer is called regolith.

+ The Moon’s orbit is inclined 5 degrees from the Earth’s ecliptic.

+ The face of the Moon is marked by regions, called mare, Latin for “sea”. A name given by Galileo who thought the dark featureless areas were bodies of water. We now know them to be basalt (a type of lava) filled impact basins.

+ The Moon’s magnetic field is 100 to 1000 times weaker than the Earth’s


Postcards from the Edge of the Universe

Send postcards and download this nice astronomy e-book, “Postcards from the Edge of the Universe” for free! :D

Launched at The European Week of Astronomy and Space Science in Lisbon (Portugal),  this book was a legacy of the International Year of Astronomy 2009 Cornerstone project Cosmic Diary.

The book features a comprehensive selection of contemporary astronomy topics in easy-to-understand language plus full color images produced by Hubble Space Telescope.

Visitors to the book’s website, www.postcardsfromuniverse.org, will find an option to send an electronic postcard from space to family and friends — the only postal service that makes light-speed deliveries.

Postcards from the Edge of the Universe is available as an electronic book for free download from its website and can be ordered in hardcopy form from ESO’s shop.

Links

Send postcards and download this nice e-book, “Postcards from the Edge of the Universe” for free! :D

The
book features a comprehensive selection of contemporary astronomy
topics in easy-to-understand language plus full color images produced by
Hubble Space Telescope.


One People, One Sky, One Star at a Time

Preserve and protect the night sky above your observing site, home, business, school or town. Take a stand against the encroachment of the light.

Join the global campaign to reduce light pollution and reclaim the beautiful starry night sky :) I just did.

"Zion - Center of the Galaxy" by TWAN photographer Wally Pacholka/Astropics.com

Reclaim the night sky: One star at a time

About

Help grow the global unified voice of people committed to unveiling the starry sky for all.
Register pledge at:
http://www.onestar-awb.org/
Goals:
• 1 million pledges this year and
• 1 thousand observing sites registered as part of the Global StarPark Network

Challenge:
Please accept Astronomers Without Borders (http://www.gam-awb.org) invitation to be part of the collaborative effort to reduce light pollution on a global scale.
First, pledge to reduce light pollution from your own home or business site.
Host a StarParty (big or small) to inaugurate your public observing site as part of the Global StarPark Network. Commit to protect the patch of sky above it. Raise public awareness of light pollution and solutions.

The goals are:
#1. An impressive reduction of light trespass between neighbors.
• house to house,
• business to business,
• business to homes, and
• streetlamps to homes

#2. Creation of at least one StarPark* in every community (*an oasis within even a horribly light-polluted community where thoughtful lighting practices permit the best public viewing of the night sky within the community.)
• A tennis court or sports field by day can be used as a StarPark at night if the lighting is addressed.
• New parks could incorporate a StarPark in the original concept design.
• Good neighbor businesses and churches can offer their parking lots as a StarPark at night for great family activitiy.
• Community nature areas can include a StarPark.
• All currently used areas for public observing sessions, including those hosted by local astronomy clubs, are encouraged to register to help build critical momentum.

Group Training can be offered for the new hosts of these StarParks as to how to conduct a Fun community StarParty. Local astronomy clubs a huge asset here.
Signage encouraged and logos offered free.
Interpretive signage downloadables offered free.
Certificates free.
Blueprints and permission to duplicate gigantic permanent outdoor planisphere offered free.

#3. Bring back the Milky Way over every national and state park!
Vast reduction of SKYGLOW over national and state parks coming from neighboring communities unveiling the Milky Way.
Community commitment can put back the crown of the Milky Way over treasured national and state parks where intrusive sky glow appears now by taking responsibility for the sky glow their community produces.

#4 A StarPark in every national & state park and nature reserve across the globe.

#5 Stargazing/observing listed on all recreational maps along with canoeing, hiking, swimming, fishing, etc.

Intensified across-the-board, across-the-planet, distinctly global at the core~ increased public awareness and activism ~ even if only in it’s simplest form, is the greatest step we can achieve towards a starrier night sky… and profound beginnings.

Positions

  1. The night sky is a natural treasure and should be protected as a natural resource for future generations
  2. Light pollution is one of the few reversible forms of pollution. We can end it through proper action
  3. Light pollution affects humans, animals, and entire ecosystems—including in ways we don’t yet fully understand
  4. We have a right to see the Milky Way. Someone stole it and we want it back!
  5. Register at http://www.onestar-awb.org/
Spread the word! :)

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