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

Causes and Projects

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. 😀

 

* * *

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! 😀

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. 😀 To the stars!

 

 

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

============================

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! 😀

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. 😀 

 

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! 😀

* * *

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! 😀

======

*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. 😀

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. 😛 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! 😀


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. 😛

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. 😀 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