June 6th last year, stargazers from across the globe gathered together to watch one of the rarest astronomical spectacles.
Many turned their attention to the daytime sky to view the planet Venus passing directly between the Sun and Earth – a transit that won’t occur again for another 105 years.
The transit of Venus happens in pairs eight years apart – but then with more than a century between cycles. During the pass, Venus appeared as a small, dark round spot moving across the face of the sun.
This year’s National Astronomy Week (NAW) falls on 18-24 February 2013. NAW is an annual event in the Philippines that is observed every third week of February under Presidential Proclamation No. 130. The theme of this year’s celebration is “Solar Max 2013: Discovering the Sun’s Awakening Power”.
The Philippine astronomy community is especially active during this period. This year, aside from the exciting activities that are usually prepared by several amateur astronomy groups, PAGASA also launched its first astrophotography contest for Elementary/High School Level (combined level) and College Students.
Below is a list of NAW 2013 activities organized by various Philippine astronomy organizations. (information taken from their own respective websites)
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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The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), the agency mandated under Presidential Proclamation No. 130, to spearhead the annual celebration, has prepared the following activities for the whole celebration:
- Free Planetarium Shows
- Stargazing and Telescoping Sessions at PAGASA Observatory
- First Astrophotography Contest for Elementary/High School Level (combined level) and College Students (First-Come, First-Served Basis)
- Free Posters in Astronomy to Visiting Schools at the Planetarium and Astronomical Observatory.
- Free 2 days Mobile Planetarium Shows, Stargazing and Telescoping Sessions in Selected Public Elementary and High School Students in Legazpi City.
- Seminar/Workshop on Basic and Observational Astronomy for Public Science Teachers in Metro Manila.
The free planetarium shows and lecture and telescoping sessions will be eld at the PAGASA Science Garden and Astronomical Observatory, respectively. It will be scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis. Planetarium shows will be conducted from 8:00 AM to 5:00 P.M. daily, while telescoping sessions will start at 7:00 o’clock nightly. Please see Attachment 1 for the mechanics of the 1st Astrophotography Contest.
The Seminar/Workshop for Public Science Teachers of Metro Manila will be conducted at the Main Conference Room, 2nd Floor, PAGASA Central Office Bldg., Science Garden, Agham Road, Diliman Quezon City on 22 February 2013 at 2:30 PM. A stargazing session will follow after the Seminar/Workshop, which will be held at the PAGASA Astronomical Observatory, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City.
Interested parties who would like to visit our astronomical facilities during the celebration may call at telephone number 434-2715 for reservation purposes. Please click the following links for the Mechanics andRegistration Forms.
For further inquiries, please visit their website at http://www.pagasa.dost.gov.ph.
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For more inquiries on ALP NAW activities, please contact NAW Chairman Christopher Louie Lu at (0919) 3057176.
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20th National Astronomy Week 2013
Schedule of Activities NAW 2013
NAW special guests:
Arnold Clavio – Guest of Honor – Distinguished UST Alumni, TV GMA Personality
Prof. Edmund Rosales – Project Director, SkyXplore; ABS weather broadcaster
The image below shows the contest event floor plan.
Registration for the different competitions can be done by e-mailing your confirmation together with the list of participants to firstname.lastname@example.org.
PAS NAW CAMPUS TOUR
February 19: Paco Catholic School – “The Universe As We Know It” by Engr. Camilo Dacanay
February 20: Ateneo – “Physics and The Study of the Universe” by Engr. Camilo Dacanay
February 22: FEU-EAC – “Space: Weather Effects and Consequences” ” by Engr. Camilo Dacanay
February 22: International Beacon School – “Stellar Evolution” by Engr. Camilo Dacanay
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The University of the Philippines Astronomical Society (UP AstroSoc), together with other Philippine astronomical organizations, celebrates the 20th National Astronomy Week (NAW) on February 16-23, 2013. UP AstroSoc prepared a line-up of activities geared towards the organization’s objective of being able to enhance the awareness, interests, knowledge, and understanding of astronomy among students and the general public. The three main “star”-studded events that would be on February 23, 2013 are Big Bang, Take Off, and the Teachers’ Seminar.
BIG BANG!: The Astronomical Quiz Show
Big Bang is a quiz show that will surely make high school students not just think outside of the box but think outside our world. It aims to showcase their knowledge about astronomy and boost their competitiveness as they battle for victory against students from Central Luzon, CALABARZON, and NCR. Big Bang would definitely create a loud blast this year so join now, if you can handle it. Prizes await for those who can.
TAKE OFF!: A Rocket-Making Competition
Take Off is a competition that will absolutely take you up to the skies. With their creativity and innovativeness, students would make their own rockets using plastic bottles and boost it with pumped air and water. The competitors would soar high as their rockets fly high to reach the gold.
TEACHERS’ SEMINAR: Astronomy Education
UP AstroSoc believes that we should first appreciate before we educate. That is why for this year, not only the students but also the teachers would take part of the National Astronomy Week celebration. The Teachers’ Seminar aims to discuss through our educators what could we gain in promoting and spreading our knowledge of Astronomy to the society, the country, and to all humanity. Some of the basic astronomical concepts would also be discussed during the seminar.
For inquiries, you may contact us at:
BIG BANG!:Liezl Ann Motilla @ 09058052777 / email@example.com
TAKE OFF!: Kristine Jane Atienza @ 09152397942 / firstname.lastname@example.org
TEACHERS’ SEMINAR: Ericka Jane Angeles @ 09264254774 / email@example.com
For more questions regarding Astronomy and UP AstroSoc, feel free to like us on Facebook (www.facebook/upastrosoc), follow us on Twitter (@upastrosoc), and visit our website (www.askupastrosoc.blogspot.com).
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Visit https://www.facebook.com/uplbastrosoc for more details.
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Stay tuned for updates!
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.
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.
To infinity and beyond! 😀
I observed the whole duration of the final Transit of Venus of our lifetime at the College of Science Amphitheater in UP Diliman in a public viewing event called ‘Rekindling Venus’ organized by members of various school-based astronomy organizations in the Philippines a last June 6, 2012.
There were lectures, talks, astro-images exhibit, free planetarium shows and telescope viewing, and more during the event, which have been attended by a lot of astronomy-enthusiasts coming from different places.
The sky was about 40-50% cloudy that day but it didn’t rain despite the weather forecast.
Local newsgroups were present during the event and I was unfortunately spotted for a short interview. Haha!
This event was surely a memorable one.
Kudos to all the organizers and thank you to everyone who joined us in this event!
Next month we will be the last people living today to witness one of the rarest astronomical events. On June 6, a special celestial event called the transit of Venus will take place, and it won’t be repeated in your lifetime.
During the transit, Venus will pass directly in front of the sun from Earth’s perspective, appearing as a small moving black dot.
The entire transit can be witnessed from eastern Asia, eastern Australia, New Zealand and the western Pacific, as well as Alaska, northern Canada and almost all of Greenland.
How rare is this astronomical event?
Transits of Venus occur in a pattern that repeats every 243 years with pairs of transits eight years apart separated by gaps of 121½ years and 105½ years. Only six of these transit have been recorded by civilization: 1639, 1761, 1769, 1874, 1882, and 2004. This June’s transit, the end of the 2004-2012 pair, won’t be repeated until the December 2117. This is the last chance for anyone alive today to see the rare celestial sight. Fortunately, the event is widely visible.
Unlike a total eclipse of the sun, which is visible only within a long narrow track traced by the moon’s shadow, during the 2012 transit of Venus the entire hemisphere of Earth facing the sun will get to see at least part of the planet’s solar crossing.
Astronomers during the 18th Century travelled thousands of miles and risked their lives to witness this precious sight.
They did so because they believed Venus held the key to the most pressing astronomical quest of the age: the size of the solar system.
In 1716, astronomer Edmund Halley realized that by timing the transits of 1761 and 1769 from widely-spaced locations on Earth it should be possible to triangulate the distance to Venus using the principles of parallax and give the distance between Earth and the Sun.
For astronomers today, the Transit of Venus offers a chance to gain insights into the planet’s notoriously thick, cloudy atmosphere, and use the refraction of sunlight to finetune techniques for hunting planets orbiting distant stars.
One of the most useful exercises will be to compare observations of the transit made by Earth-based telescopes, orbital telescopes and robot probes.
The Transit of Venus (TOV) is among the rarest astronomical phenomena and won’t happen again until the year 2117. So prepare now, and don’t miss out on this extremely special event!
Observing the TOV from the Philippines
Filipinos are lucky because the entire Philippines is well positioned to witness the transit of Venus on Wednesday 6th June 2012.
To those who are planning to observe this rare event, you might just be interested in joining us in this free public viewing.
June 06 2012, 6am – 1pm
College of Science Amphitheater, University of the Philippines Diliman
This event was launched through the collaboration of the Australian Embassy, UP Astronomical Society, UP- Los Banos Astronomical Society, RTU Astronomical Society, DOST-PAGASA and D’Great Rovers.
This event is for FREE and is open to everyone. Even those who would be coming from other parts of the globe are invited.
For more details, please visit its Facebook event page:
The general transit circumstances can be found here.
Warning: NEVER look at the sun with your naked eye, binoculars or a telescope. Serious and permanent eye damage, including blindness, can result.
- Six ways to see the transit
- Fred Espenak’s Solar Eye Safety
- Transit of Venus.org Safety
The Black Drop Effect
The black drop effect occurs when Venus appears to “connect” to the edge of the Sun before actually reaching the edge. You can model the black drop effect by slowly pinching your index finger and thumb together. Your fingers seem to meet even before they touch. This optical phenomenon was originally thought to provide proof of Venus having an atmosphere. For an explanation of the black drop effect, check out the following links:
A YouTube video of modeling the black drop effect with your fingers:
An online simulation of the black drop effect:
Other resources if you are looking for more information on the Transit of Venus:
On 6 June, an event that takes place only four times every two centuries will enthral the world’s astronomers, as it has ever since the 1600s – but now it can provide priceless data in the hunt for habitable planets in deep space and in re-measuring the distance of the sun from Earth.
Venus will appear as a tiny speck on one side of the Sun in a few weeks and will slowly traverse the solar disc for a few hours. The movement of that little black dot may seem insignificant. But it is one of the rarest sights in astronomy, an event known as a transit of Venus. Miss this one and you will have to wait until 2117 for the next.
Image credit: NASA/LMSAL
As seen from Earth, only transits of Mercury and Venus are possible. On average, there are 13 transits of Mercury each century. In contrast, transits of Venus occur in pairs with more than a century separating each pair.
For Northern Hemisphere locations above latitude ~67° north (including the Philippines) all of the transit is visible regardless of the longitude.
A lot of astronomy-enthusiasts globally are preparing for this rare event. Some are even planning to travel in places where the transit will be fully visible.
As part of this preparation, visibility maps of the transit were created by volunteer groups to guide local observers. One of the efforts is called the Transit of Venus Project which is part of the Astronomers Without Borders (AWB) program. AWB is a global collaboration in astronomy.
Aside from providing useful information to the public about this event, the TOV Project also aims to form a collection of translated maps of the 2012 transit of Venus for different languages so that the transit of Venus will be enjoyed by more people around the world. Of course, some people would appreciate a map in their own native language.
Michael Zeiler of Eclipse-maps.com (and also one of the curators of the TOV Project website) sent me a message via Twitter asking for help with translating a summary map of the transit of Venus (June 5-6, 2012) into Filipino.
Here is a copy of the map:
These are the phrases to translate: World visibility of the transit of Venus on June 5 & 6, 2012 Venus overhead at transit maximum Entire transit visible Transit not visible Transit starts before sunset and ends after following sunrise Transit starts before sunrise and ends after sunset Transit visible from sunrise until end Transit visible from start until sunset Venus touches Sun’s disk at sunrise Venus within Sun’s disk at sunrise Venus within Sun’s disk at sunset Venus touches Sun’s disk at sunset
I made a draft of the translation in Filipino and consulted some professors from the Filipino Department of UP Diliman. Upon deciding that it the translated words were good enough, I emailed everything to Mr. Zeiler and he produced this map containing the translated phrases.
6 June 2012 Transit of Venus Visibility Map in our local language, Filipino. Credit: (map) Michael Zeiler/(translation) Raven Yu
Please take note that some of the phrases were not translated into its direct meaning but more of its contextual meaning so as not to confuse the map users.
Check out this link to view the translated maps of the 2012 transit of Venus for different languages.
If your language is not provided, you can help add a new map by following the simple instructions at this page.
You can also find local contact times of the transit at http://transitofvenus.nl/wp/where-when/local-transit-times/.
Remember that it is not safe to view the sun directly because it might damage your eyes. Read here for tips on how to safely view and photograph the transit using the right equipment and proper eye protection.
Don’t miss this rare spectacle! 🙂 Clear skies!
UP Astronomical Society is now open for Summer Application!
See you this thursday, 19 April 2012 6pm at the PAGASA Astronomical Observatory Moon Deck near CHE.
Get the chance to look through the largest telescope in the Philippines, Andre the Giant!
Don’t miss it! 🙂
For inquiries, please contact
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About UP Astrosoc…
The University of the Philippines Astronomical Society (UP Astrosoc) is a non-profit, non-political and non-partisan organization in the University of the Philippines, Diliman established in 1991. UP Astrosoc now resides at the PAGASA Astronomical Observatory inside the UP Diliman Campus in Quezon City.
The New Moon this month will guarantee the perfect dark sky to watch the Ancient April “shooting stars” called the Lyrid Meteor Shower or the Lyrids.
The Lyrids fall from Comet C1861 G1 Thatcher as the Earth passes through her tail. Activity from this meteor shower can be observed from 16 April to 25 April, but the perfect time to catch the Lyrids is during late night of the 21st to the early morning of the 22nd.
The Lyrids can offer a display of 10 to 20 per hour or have a surge of activity of up to 100 per hour.
The Lyrids, so named because they appear to originate from the constellation Lyra (The Lyre), have been observed in the night sky during mid-April for at least 2,500 years, NASA scientists say. On 21 – 22 of April you can see Lyra rise at around 11PM (local time) from the north east and continue to rise high into the sky towards the south east during the darkest hours of the night sky.
The fifth-brightest star of the sky, alpha Lyr, called Vega (arabic for “stone eagle”), radiates from the top of Lyra with a pure white colour. Together with alpha Cyg, Deneb , and alpha Aql, Atair, Vega forms the famous asterism, the Summer Triangle (shown above).
Lyrid meteors are usually around magnitude +2, which is bright enough to be visible from most cities, but you’ll see more and enjoy them more if you leave the city for a less light-polluted area where the stars shine brighter. They often produce luminous trains of dust that can be observed for several seconds. Some Lyrids will be brighter, though, and the occassional “fireball” can cast shadows for a split second and leave behind glowing, smoky debris trails that last for minutes.
So, how do you watch these meteors? Like any other meteor shower event, watching the Lyrids requires no special viewing equipment like binoculars or telescopes. All you need is an open sky and a place to lie down and relax. Someplace dark, away from trees and buildings is best. Meteors zip across the sky, so the more sky you see the better. Gaze into the stars, and be patient. The best direction to watch is wherever your sky is darkest, usually straight up, perhaps with a little inclination toward the radiant.
As an observer, you can make a careful meteor count and report it to the International Meteor Organization. Such counts are analyzed to yield the shower’s zenithal hourly rate (ZHR), which is the number of meteors that a single observer would see per hour under ideal conditions: with the radiant directly overhead (at the zenith) and the sky dark enough to reveal 6.5-magnitude stars.
During Global Astronomy Month (GAM 2012), everyone is encouraged to observe the Lyrids and send in the reports of what they saw. You can also share your data by tweeting your postcode, your country (click here to find your country code) and, optionally, the meteor count along with the hashtag; #MeteorWatch (you are welcome to use GAM hastags as well – #GAM2012 #LyridsWatch)
The meteor data will appear in a map at MeteorWatch.org. This is an excellent way to get more immersed and socialize during your observations.
For Philippine observers located near Quezon City, the University of the Philippines Astronomical Society (UP AstroSoc) invites you to its Lyrids observation on April 21-22, 9PM-6AM at the PAGASA Astronomical Observatory Sundeck (located within the UP Diliman Campus).
The event is for free and open to all, so feel free to bring along with you your friends and family.
For more information, please visit UP Astrosoc’s Facebook fanpage.
Meteor showers can be a lot of fun, so I hope you see some good ones this coming weekend! Clear skies!
It’s equinox time again, and this year’s March equinox took place today at precisely 5:14 a.m. GMT, or Universal Time (13:14 in Manila). The March equinox was also known as the “spring equinox” in the northern hemisphere and “autumnal (fall) equinox” in the southern hemisphere as this event marks the change of seasons — the beginning of spring in the northern part of the globe and autumn in the south.
During equinox, night and day are nearly exactly the same length – 12 hours – all over the world. This is the reason it’s called an “equinox”, derived from Latin, meaning “equal night”.
However, even if this is widely accepted, it isn’t entirely true. In reality equinoxes don’t have exactly 12 hours of daylight. A good website for looking at sunrise and sunset times in Manila can be found here. The best one for checking the bearing (direction) of sunrise or sunset anywhere in the world is the US Naval Observatory.
A more appropriate way to define equinox is given by astronomers. According to its astronomical definition, an equinox is the moment when the sun arrives at one of two intersection points of the ecliptic, the sun’s path across the sky, and the celestial equator, earth’s equator projected onto the sky.
My plans today were to head on the top of a high place and catch the sun setting due west. Sadly, the weather was not very good and the visibility was terrible.
Had I been able to see the sun it would have set due west.
Everyone always says that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, but if we were really aware of our surroundings and more attuned to the sky we would realize that this is not true. In fact this is only true for two days out of the entire year and those are during equinoxes.
By studying the sun’s position in the sky over the course of a year from the same location, one can notice that its rising and setting positions are changing by more at a particular time of year than at any other time.
The amount of change in the location of the rising and setting of the sun throughout the year depends upon where your viewpoint is. However, irrespective of where you are on the globe, the Sun will always rise exactly east and set exactly west during equinoxes (on March 20/21 and September 20/21)
On the other hand, near the solstices the sunrise position slows its change to close to a ‘standstill’ (the name ‘solstice’ being derived from the Latin for ‘sun standing still’).
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Seasons Without Borders: Equinox March 2012
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? Being mindfully aware of your place on this moving Earth may bring out the storyteller and poet in you. AWB invites you to share your event reports and poems at the AWB Members’ Blog and AWB Astropoetry Blog. Send your poems to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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.
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
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.
Join the conversation on Twitter @awb_org using #VenusJupiter with other groups around the world. Post your images on our Flickr or Facebook page.
Tour the Planets: Jupter and Venus Conjunction Live
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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/