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


October 8, 2014 Total Lunar Eclipse in the Philippines

A glimpse of tonight's 'Blood Moon' amid cloudy skies as seen from Montalban, Rizal. Image was taken a few minutes after totality.

A glimpse of tonight’s ‘Blood Moon’ amid cloudy skies as seen from Montalban, Rizal. Image was taken a few minutes after totality.

Yesterday (Oct. 8, 2014), skywatchers across much of the world, had the chance to see another ‘blood red moon’ as the moon passes behind the Earth and into our shadow. This alignment usually occurs only once every couple of years.
In the Philippines, maximum eclipse occured at 18:55 PST (06:55 P.M.) in the eastern sky.

Cloudy skies and rain due to the presence of Super Typhoon Ompong (Vongfong) within PAR threatened to spoil this spectacular event. The weather outlook for the day doesn’t make it conducive for an unobstructed viewing. We watched from 5:30 pm to 9:10 pm in mostly cloudy skies. But luckily, we did get good breaks and saw the totality and egress when the cloud thinned at times and the rain held off.

Following are some of the images I took using my Canon Powershot SX40 HS and Nikon D3200 dslr. I will post more photos soon.

Montage of 12 photos showing the various stages of last night's total lunar eclipse

Montage of 12 photos showing the various stages of last night’s total lunar eclipse

'Blood Moon' over Rodriguez, Rizal

‘Blood Moon’ over Rodriguez, Rizal

May 10, 2013 Annular Solar Eclipse

An annular solar eclipse will occur on May 9-10, 2013 (depending on your location). During an annular eclipse, the Moon is near its farthest distance from Earth (i.e., near its apogee) so it appears slightly smaller than the Sun’s disk. Since the Moon doesn’t cover the Sun completely, this leaves a bright ring of sunlight surrounding the Moon’s disk, often called the “Ring of Fire” effect. About 95% of the solar disk will be eclipsed by the Moon.

Screenshot from the live webcast from SLOOH Space Camera during the May 20, 2012 annular eclipse.

Screenshot from the live webcast from SLOOH Space Camera during the May 20, 2012 annular eclipse. (via Universe Today)


The path of annularity of the eclipse passes through parts of North Australia, SE Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Kiribati, provided the weather cooperates. Partial eclipse will be seen in a much broader path, which includes other parts of Australia, Eastern Indonesia, Oceania and Southern Philippines.


Global visibility of the eclipse courtesy of Michael Zeiler of Eclipse-Maps.com

Time table Worldwide

Eclipse circumstances                               UTC             Philippine Time
First location to see partial eclipse begin 9 May, 21:25   10 May, 05:25
First location to see full Eclipse begin 9 May, 22:31   10 May, 06:31
Maximum Eclipse 10 May, 00:23   10 May, 08:23
Last location to see full Eclipse end 10 May, 02:20   10 May, 10:20
Last location to see partial Eclipse end 10 May, 03:25   10 May, 11:25

The eclipse can be observed from 6:08 am until 7:34 am in the Philippines. For local observers, please check the gallery below to give you and idea on how the eclipse would look like for selected localities. Other locations nearby will also see similar views.

Partial eclipse as seen from various locations in the Philippines at maximum eclipse, 6:41 a.m. local time. Simulated in Stellarium. Hover your mouse over an image to view the location.

PAGASA indicated the areas where the eclipse can be observed, including Sorsogon, Masbate, Roxas City, Puerto Princesa City, Cebu, Tacloban, Dumaguete, Surigao, Cagayan de Oro, Iligan, Zamboanga, Hinatuan, Cotabato, Jolo, Davao, and General Santos. It also created a table of local times for viewing the eclipse for the above-mentioned locations.

Note that the eclipse is not visible in Luzon except in the southern tip.

Eclipse circumstances for selected locations in the southern part of the Philippines courtesy of PAGASA.

Eclipse circumstances for selected locations in the southern part of the Philippines courtesy of PAGASA.

Viewing the Eclipse SAFELY

For observers along the path of the eclipse, astronomers recommend using either a professionally manufactured solar filter in front of a telescope or camera, or eclipse-viewing glasses that sufficiently reduce the sun’s brightness and filter out damaging ultraviolet and infrared radiation. NEVER attempt to observe the partial or annular phases of any eclipse with the naked eye. Failure to use appropriate filtration may result in permanent eye damage or blindness!

A view of the crescent sun during eclipse maximum of the May 21, 2012 solar eclipse in the Philippines. Image taken using a hand-held Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH2 digital camera on a 2-inch refractor telescope with a Baader 5.0 ND solar filter.

Crescent sun during eclipse maximum of the May 21, 2012 partial solar eclipse in the Philippines. Image taken using a hand-held Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH2 digital camera on a 2-inch refractor telescope with a Baader 5.0 ND solar filter.

To view the eclipse safely, Fred Espenak (www.mreclipse.com) compiled here a  list of the acceptable and non-recommended filters for visual observation.

Acceptable filters for unaided visual observations: aluminized polyester specifically designed for solar viewing, shade 12 and 14 welding filters, black polymer filters (Thousand Oaks Solar Shield 2000 and Rainbow Symphony Polymer), and two layers of fully exposed and developed silver-bearing black and white film negative. For photographic and visual use, particularly with binoculars or telescopes, acceptable filters include: aluminized polyester specifically designed for the purpose, and Questar and Thousand Oaks T1 and T2 glass filters. The Thousand Oaks T3 filter should be used with extreme care for photographic use only.

Not recommended: metal-coated polyester that is not specifically intended for solar observation, smoked glass, floppy disk media, black color transparency (slide) film, floppy disk media, and compact disks (because of the inconsistent quality of the metal coating).”

For those who won’t be able to observe the eclipse from their location, you may still watch via live webstreaming of the event.

Clear skies and happy viewing!

November 28, 2012 Penumbral Lunar Eclipse

There will be a penumbral lunar eclipse visible in the Philippines on November 28, 2012. Penumbral lunar eclipses occur when the Moon passes through Earth’s penumbral shadow.

Eclipse diagram. Image credit: eclipsegeeks.com

Here are the key times for the lunar eclipse based on information from NASA:

Penumbral eclipse starts – 12:14:58 UT (8:14 p.m. PHT)
Greatest eclipse – 14:33:00 UT (10:33 p.m. PHT)
Penumbral eclipse ends – 16:51:02 UT (12:51 a.m. PHT)

(Note: Philippine time is UT+8)

Unlike partial and total lunar eclipses, penumbral eclipses are not very noticeable. It is because the change of shade to the Moon is so small that hardly any difference can be seen compared to a normal Full Moon. You will not see a chunk on the moon taken out of one side; nor you’ll see the Moon turn red (as it does during a total lunar eclipse) for it will not pass through Earth’s umbral shadow.

The start and end of the eclipse will not be visible to the naked eye and cannot be detected without special equipment, like telescopes and binoculars. In fact, it is only during about 30 minutes before and after the eclipse’s maximum that a light grey shading will be seen along the moon’s northern limb.

The moon during a penumbral eclipse. Image credit: Fred Espenak

Although it is not that spectacular, this event still provides the opportunity to see dimming on the Moon’s surface.  Moreover, it’s also nice to spot the Moon near bright Jupiter and the bright star Aldebaran in the night sky during this event.

Moon near Jupiter and Aldebaran in Taurus – November 28, 2012 (scrrenshot image from Stellarium)

Remember, it is quite safe to watch a lunar eclipse with the naked eye. 🙂 Clear skies and happy viewing!

A Bite Out of the Strawberry Moon

A large cumulonimbus cloud was covering the moon until eclipse maximum.

I was lucky to have witnessed the partially eclipsed moon in the eastern sky last night despite a thick cloud cover and a chance of a thunderstorm.

The June 2012 full moon is called the Strawberry Moon (according to the Farmer’s Almanac)

According to the Farmer’s Almanac, “because the relatively short season for harvesting strawberries comes each year during the month of June, full Moon that occurs during that month was christened for the strawberry”, hence the name.

Because of this,  it seemed as if the shadow of the Earth that covered the moon during the eclipse is a small bite out of the Strawberry Moon.

Shown below is a composite image of eight separate photos showing the phases of last night’s partial lunar eclipse beginning at 7:32 pm PHT as seen from Marikina City, in mostly cloudy skies.

Yesterday’s weather had been winding us up all day, with nearly 100% cloud cover from dawn to dusk. Fortunately, we did get good cloud breaks which allowed glimpses of the Moon.

By the way, I observed this event with my fellow UP AstroSoc member and favorite observing buddy, Bea Banzuela from the rooftop of their house located in Barangka, Marikina City.

Tomorrow, a rare transit of Venus across the Sun’s disk will surely entice a lot of sky viewers again. It is an event that you would not want to miss!

Clear skies!

Crescent Sun at Sunrise

This morning, a wonderful view of a golden crescent sun was successfully observed  by a lot of skyviewers using appropriate filters for visual observing and photography. The partial solar eclipse began at sunrise at 5:27 am local time and ended at 7:06 am. Fortunately,  the weather cooperated this time despite bad weather forecasts and continuous rains during the past few days.

In some places like China, Japan, and United States, the event was seen as an annular eclipse which looked like a fiery ring in the sky.

I observed this event along with an Astrosoc orgmate in their house at Marikina City. Their location is great for observing events which can be viewed along the eastern sky. Moreover, it is also high enough to give a very good vantage point.

Only a few minutes after sunrise, a big yellowish grin in the east just above a layer of clouds greeted us earthlings who patiently waited even without sleep. Yay!

Below is a composite image that I created using Adobe Photoshop to illustrate how the the sun looked like when it was rising from behind the Sierra Madre mountain range.

Many Filipinos anticipated the event as solar eclipses are not frequently visible in the Philippines. The last one occurred last January 15, 2010, while the next won’t take place until March 9, 2016.

For avid amateur astronomers like me, this event was extra special as it provides a good opportunity for me to practice solar observation in preparation for the upcoming transit of Venus, a very rare phenomenon that won’t be repeated until 2117. I have never done any solar observation before using my own Galileoscope for fear of getting it damaged (its lens and body tube were both made up of plastic which are not great for viewing the sun using solar projection method). Moreover, the danger of having an eye injury also worried me. Hence, I decided not to pursue solar observation unless I get a decent filter that I could safely attach and use with my equipment — be it a camera or my scope.

Months before this event, I was very anxious that I might not be able to observe it having only a cheap plastic scope and a camera. But I was really determined that I’ve read a lot about solar observing and saved some money for it just in case there’d be a need to buy some materials. When the event came nearer, however, financial constraints became a problem, so I just forego the idea of buying a costly filter and chose to buy a #10 welding glass instead. It might not produce nice images but it’s a good and safe alternative.

Nonetheless, God must have heard my thoughts that he made a miracle. Haha! A few days before the solar eclipse, a nice surprise came in when a generous UP AstroSoc orgmate offered me an extra piece of Baader solar filter — for free! Wee!:)

Below were some of the images I took using a hand-held Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH2 digital camera on a 2-inch refractor (Galileoscope) with a Baader 5.0 ND solar filter.

By the way, these photos have been featured several times today in local news programs. They also got featured in front page of spaceweather.com and  in an article by Earthsky.org.

A screencap showing my image in GMA’s 24 Oras. Thanks to my sister who posted this!

I will upload the other photos soon, including a complete observation report. For the meantime, I’d better get some sleep first because I still need to attend some other important conventions outside the city. 🙂

To the stars!

* * *

I created two composite images which show the progression of the partial solar eclipse as we observed the event.

The image above was featured in Amateur Astronomy Picture of the Day (AAPOD) last June 24, 2012.  It was my fifth AAPOD image. 🙂

To God be the glory!

Clear skies to all.

May 2012 Solar Eclipse

The first solar eclipse in 2012 will be an annular solar eclipse on May 20–21. The term came from the Latin word “annulus,” meaning “little ring”, because the moon will not completely cover the sun during the totality (unlike in a total solar eclipse), but will leave a fiery ring around its circumference.

A telescopic picture of the Sun taken during the annular eclipse of January 15, 2010 from the city of Kanyakumari at the southern tip of India. Image Credit & Copyright: Mikael Svalgaard

Warning: NEVER look directly at the sun through binoculars, a telescope or with your unaided eye.

At its peak, the moon will block roughly 94 percent of the sun’s light.

This potentially spectacular solar eclipse  will be visible from much of Asia, the Pacific region and North America, provided the weather cooperates.

Time table worldwide

The eclipse starts in one location and ends in another, the times below are for visibility for any location on earth.

Event UTC Time Time in Manila
First location to see partial eclipse begins 20 May, 20:56 21 May, 04:56
First location to see full Eclipse begins 20 May, 22:06 21 May, 06:06
Maximum Eclipse 20 May, 23:54 21 May, 07:54
Last location to see full Eclipse ends 21 May, 01:39 21 May, 09:39
Last location to see partial Eclipse ends 21 May, 02:49 21 May, 10:49

Note to Philippine observers: The fiery ring would not be visible in the Philippines. Instead, a partial solar eclipse beginning at sunrise on May 21 will be visible.

Local circumstances of the partial solar eclipse on Monday (May 21) in the Philippines courtesy of UPLB Astronomical Society. Screenshots were taken using Stellarium.

Remember that this spectacular sight can only be safely observed with approved solar filters or by projecting an image of the eclipsed Sun onto a flat white surface.  Look for pinhole effects on the ground (shadows of trees or bushes) or use some another projection viewing method to safely view the eclipsed sun.

The Sun can be viewed safely with the naked eye ONLY during the few brief seconds or minutes of a total solar eclipse.  Even at maximum, the annular eclipse will not cover the brightest parts of the sun. Partial eclipses, annular eclipses, and the partial phases of total eclipses are never safe to watch without taking special precautions. Do not attempt to observe the partial or annular phases of any eclipse with the naked eye. Failure to use appropriate filtration may result in permanent eye damage or blindness!

Tips on how to view the Sun safely

“Filters for visual and photographic use

Acceptable filters for unaided visual observations include: aluminized polyester specifically designed for solar viewing, shade 12 and 14 welding filters, black polymer filters (Thousand Oaks Solar Shield 2000 and Rainbow Symphony Polymer), and two layers of fully exposed and developed silver-bearing black and white film negative. For photographic and visual use, particularly with binoculars or telescopes, acceptable filters include: aluminized polyester specifically designed for the purpose, and Questar and Thousand Oaks T1 and T2 glass filters. The Thousand Oaks T3 filter should be used with extreme care for photographic use only. Not recommended are: metal-coated polyester that is not specifically intended for solar observation, smoked glass, floppy disk media, black colour transparency (slide) film, floppy disk media, and compact disks (because of the inconsistent quality of the metal coating).”

I reiterate that you must protect your eyes at all times with proper solar filters when looking at the sun. However, do not let the requisite warnings scare you away from witnessing this wonderful phenomenon. 🙂 Clear skies!
Recommended links for further information

For those who won’t be able to observe the eclipse from their location, you may still watch via live webstreaming of the event.

December 10, 2011 Total Lunar Eclipse

Despite the rain and an overcast sky, we were thankful that for a brief period of time God permitted us to have a glimpse of the Red Moon during the total eclipse of the moon last December 10, 2011.

The moon was nearly high overhead during the totality phase of the eclipse and was located in the constellation Taurus. Totality lasted for about 51 mins.

I didn’t get decent shots of the moon during this event but I was really happy to have witnessed it. 🙂

Click on the images below to see larger versions.

First sight of the moon at 10:22 pm
After a short while, the clouds began to move away and we had a clear view.
Moon at totality

The red tint of the eclipsed Moon is created by sunlight first passing through the Earth’s atmosphere, which preferentially scatters blue light (making the sky blue) but passes and refracts red light, before reflecting back off the Moon. Differing amounts of clouds and volcanic dust in the Earth’s atmosphere make each lunar eclipse appear differently.

Orion and the Red Moon at 10:56 pm
Moon exits totality. Image taken at 11:09 pm
Moon at 11:27 pm. Only half of the moon’s disk lies within the umbra.
Moon at 11:51 pm. A 22 degree lunar halo formed around the moon just before it exited the umbral eclipse phase.

By the way, I observed this event together with my friend and UP AstroSoc orgmate, Bea Banzuela. We were eating a cold dinner (literally!) from the rooftop of their house in Marikina City while checking the sky and taking photos of the moon.

Bea used her sophisticated camera, Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 (with telephoto lens) in capturing lunar images. Below is one of the images she took:

Image courtesy of Bea Banzuela

The lunar features in this image are more recognizable. 🙂 I love that camera! Haha! Thanks Bea, for allowing me to repost this.

“When you want something, all the universe conspire in helping you to achieve it.” – Paulo Coelho (The Alchemist)
To the stars! 🙂

My Total Lunar Eclipse Montage in Universe Today

Didn’t know that one image of mine got featured in Universe Today last October 12. 😀 Click here to view the article.

Thanks, Universe Today! 

Observing the ‘Red Moon’ from Seven Suites Hotel Observatory

I began my preparation to observe the June 16, 2011  Total Lunar Eclipse as soon as I’ve learned about it several months ago.

It was a relatively rare opportunity to observe a Total Eclipse of the Moon — not to mention that the duration of totality of this eclipse will be one of the longest in 100 years (totality lasted for 100 minutes, from 3:22 am until around 5:02 am PHT).

I immediately checked the eclipse circumstances available in the NASA eclipse website and estimated the location of the Moon for each phase using Stellarium, so as to choose the best place to observe the event. I also reviewed the previous photos I’ve taken to see which places have a clear view of the southwest sky — the region where the Moon was mostly located during the course of the whole eclipse event. After considering a few sites, I came down to only three choices — the PAGASA Observatory in UP Diliman, a place along San Miguel by the Bay and at the Seven Suites Hotel Observatory in Antipolo.

Dropping the other two choices, I observed at the Seven Suites.

Since I still have a class to attend the following morning, observing at San Miguel by the Bay was the least good option. It surely was a nice place to observe as it has a very clear western horizon (which will enable me to catch a glimpse of the eclipsed moon setting at the bayside), but traveling would be a bit of a hassle for me because it was too far. The most convenient choice was actually to observe at the PAGASA Observatory. It’s just a walking distance away from my college and most of my orgmates in UP AstroSoc were there, too. However, I was worried that the buildings surrounding the observatory might block the view of the Moon when it gets too low during the last phases.

Through Mr. Ramon Acevedo or Kuya Ramon —  an alumnus of my astronomy org UP AstroSoc — the manager of Seven Suites allowed me and a few more orgmates  to observe from Seven Suites for free 🙂 Thanks, Kuya Ramon!

Seven Suites is the first and only hotel observatory in the Philippines.  As it is situated along the hillside route of Sumulong Highway in Antipolo City (not too far away from UP Diliman), it offers a breathtaking view of Manila by night — a stunning view of the metropolis, its city lights and the dazzling night sky. It also houses a 12”diameter Dobsonian which is the fourth largest telescope in the country.

We arrived at Seven Suites at about two hours before the start of the penumbral eclipse. Upon reaching the roof deck, we marveled at the awesome cityscape just below us.

The star Arcturus above the cityscape.
The star Arcturus above the cityscape.

Despite the rainy weather forecast, thank God it didn’t rain a bit the whole night. Only a few patches of clouds could be seen floating amid the moonlit sky.

Scorpius hugging Luna. Photo taken by Elaine Tacubanza
A colorful lunar corona surrounded the Moon before the eclipse. The blue spot appeared because of the lens flare.

A few minutes past midnight, a group of mediamen from a local TV Network came to join us to cover the event. Someone from GMA contacted me earlier that day via Twitter  for an interview regarding the eclipse. He told me that he learned about me after seeing a post which linked my astro blog.  He further asked me where I will  be observing the event and I told him of my plan and the time of the eclipse . I also added that another group of my orgmates in UP AstroSoc will also be observing the event from the PAGASA Observatory. After our conversation, he said that they will send a group there. And they did. Kuya Ramon was also notified of their coming.

I shied away from the camera when they started doing the interview. Any how, my other orgmates were also there and they answered the interview questions adequately. 🙂

All of us were excited to witness the eclipse. But before it started, a bright fireball zoomed in to our view. It came from the northeast direction, near the Summer Triangle so we guessed that it could be a June Lyrid.

At the time of the penumbral eclipse, no visible changes in the moon’s brightness can be easily recognized until it slowly become dimmer a few minutes before the umbral phase. By about 2:30 AM, a small part of the Moon on its upper left limb was already being covered by the Earth’s shadow. This chunk grew larger and larger after several minutes until finally only a small sliver of the Moon remained visible. The Moon entered totality at 3:22 AM. Just before the light on the Moon totally disappeared, an apparent reddening of the lunar disk took place. It became more and more obvious to the eye until the whole lunar disk was transformed to a blood-red orb hanging above among the stars. It was a breath-taking view.

Moon at 3:19 AM — a few minutes before Totality
The Red Moon
Moon approaching the maximum totality of the eclipse
The Red Moon and the City. Image taken at 4:22 AM

I also created two montage composed of the images of the Moon during different stages of the eclipse. In the second photo, the images were taken by about 5-10 minutes apart.

Totality ended at 5:02 AM. Unfortunately, the fifth contact (end of the partial eclipse) and sixth contact (end of the penumbral eclipse) could not be observed from the Philippines since the moonset was at 5:30 AM.

Here is a time-lapse video of the setting eclipsed Moon which I made using Windows Movie Maker. The transition of the images were quite slow because each frame can only be separated by a minimum of 1 second when using WMM. Can anyone suggest a better video editing software (preferably with a small size on disk) that can be used by amateurs?

5:01 AM — The Moon was about to exit Totality

Only a small part of the Moon remained visible as it continuously sank near the horizon. A few minutes before sunrise, we noticed another nice atmospheric phenomenon — anticrepuscular rays.

5:14 AM — a small part of the Moon was visible above the city skyline. The pink lines above were anticrepuscular rays.

Anticrepuscular rays are similar to crepuscular rays, but seen opposite the sun in the sky during sunrise or sunset.

A final glimpse of the Moon
A panoramic view of the city skyline

We packed up and prepared to leave at around 6:00 in the morning. I was starting to feel tired during then but I resisted sleepiness as I still need to attend my class. One of us even said that we were already like zombies during that moment because of sleep-deprivation. Haha!

From L to R: Kuya Ramon, Miguel, Aaron, Me and Carmen. Elaine left earlier than us that’s why she’s not in the picture 😦

Our efforts didn’t go fruitless, anyway. Seeing the Red Moon was truly a priceless experience. Besides, I was also happy that I was finally able to set foot in Seven Suites after a few years. Yes, I’ve been planning to visit the place ever since. but some circumstances seemed to hindered me most of the time.

All photos were taken using Nikon D3000 DSLR camera. Thank you, Nicky for lending me your camera.  🙂 

My fellow UP AstroSoc members who observed at the PAGASA Observatory were also successful in observing and documenting this event. God is really great, we were not clouded out. 🙂 Like us, they also got interviewed during the event.

The news reports including the interviews came out later that day. The person from GMA who contacted me texted me that the video coverage was already being aired. I wasn’t able to catch it on the television but it was now available online. You can watch the video of the interview from here.

The lunar eclipse was the talk of the town during the whole day. Eclipse pictures, videos and articles flooded the Internet. Moreover, Google also featured the lunar eclipse that just took place  through its regular Google Doodle. So if you happened to take a peek at your Google homepage last June 16, you should have seen a playable lunar eclipse photos, like the one below:

This “live” doodle showed a live feed of the lunar eclipse from images from robotic telescope service Slooh. During the eclipse, visitors to Google.com can see a dial at the bottom of the image moving left to right, going through the various stages of the eclipse, before settling on the current feed.

On the other hand, clicking on the doodle will take you to the top search results about the 16 June Total Lunar Eclipse. Some friends told me that the link to my blog about the visible eclipses in the Philippines in 2011 was on the 4th spot. 🙂 And indeed, I got a lot of site visitors during that day. Thanks to all who dropped by and left their wonderful comments.

‘Til the next Total Lunar Eclipse on December. 🙂 Ad astra!

The Blood Red Moon During Maximum Totality

The Moon (and the city) during maximum totality at 4:13 AM (PHT)

A marvelous apparition of a blood-colored or deep red Moon stunned a lot of Philippine sky viewers  during the Total Lunar Eclipse last June 16, 2011. The totality time lasted for about 1 hour and 40 minutes.

At the time of the totality – when the Moon passes through the Earth’s umbral shadow – the entire disk of the Moon turns vibrant red. The Earth’s atmosphere which acts like a filtered lens bends red sunlight into our planet’s shadow and scatters out blue light. It’s the same reason why sunrises and sunsets appear reddish. If Earth had no atmosphere, its shadow would be pitch black and the eclipsed moon would be invisible.

According to some astronomers, this eclipse was the darkest lunar eclipse in almost 100 years  because the centers of the sun, the earth and the moon were nearly be on one straight line.

I’m still editing the other eclipse photos. Will post the rest of them including my observation report soon. 🙂

This photo was taken from the very nice Seven Suites Hotel Observatory in Antipolo.
Camera used was Nikon D3000 (48mm, f/5.6, 30-sec exp. at ISO 200)

* * * *

A Tip on Lunar Photography:

As you can observe, the image was a bit out-of-focused. I had a hard time focusing on the Moon as subject during that time because I didn’t have a good telephoto lens that could’ve made the Moon appear clearer and larger. Telephoto lenses are  well-designed for photographing distant subjects like the Moon. However, those are very expensive. Wide angle lenses used in landscape photography such as this makes the moon look even  smaller than how you had visualized it in the scene.

The Eclipse of the Midnight Sun

Yesterday, June 1 (on Wednesday), a partial eclipse of the sun was observed from the high latitudes in the Northern hemisphere (near the Arctic Circle) — Siberia and North China, Iceland, Japan, North Korea, Canada, and far northern Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden and Finland).

The partial solar eclipse’s path on June 1, 2011. The different shades of red depict the eclipse’s visibility, with the strongest and innermost shade depicting 50 percent visibility, 25 percent visibility, and down to as low as zero percent visibility. Click on the image to view the eclipse animation. Credit: TimeandDate.com

In some places – for example in Tromso, Norway – this event was viewed as an unusual eclipse of the midnight sun. In other words, the sun is still visible above the horizon late at “night”.

According to Knut Jörgen Roed Larsen, an astrophysicist at the Norwegian Center for Science Education in Oslo, 60% of the Solar disc will be covered by the Moon, which is an unusual large amount to be a Midnight Solar Eclipse. The last one occurred on July 31. 2000, but then only 40% of the Solar disc was covered.

A previous midnight sun eclipse, seen from northern Sweden on July 31, 2000. Credit: Oddleiv Skilbrei via NASA.

Since the rotational axis of the Earth is tilted by 23.5 degrees areas located north of 67.5 degrees latitude (the Arctic Circle) experience a period each summer when the Sun does not set – it is a midnight Sun.

At this time of year, he explains, a solar eclipse is theoretically possible at all hours of the day.

And indeed, when the clock stroke local midnight in northern Norway during the end of June 1st, about half of the lingering sun was covered by the Moon.

The eclipse as it was expected to appear in the Tromsø area. Illustration: Knut Jørgen Røed Ødegaard

This was the first midnight Sun eclipse in Norway since 2000 and the largest one since 1985. Scandinavians must wait until 2084 to have a larger eclipse of the midnight Sun.

The “Greatest eclipse” occurred at 21:16 Universal Time on June 1st. A live webcast of this rare eclipse in Norway was shown from this page. Archived images from the live webcast were also available there.

Since I wasn’t able to catch this live webcast, I will just repost the images of this event shared by my twitter contacts.

This was a  rare celestial event I couldn’t miss to share to everyone. 🙂

Beautiful scenic view with the partially eclipsed Sun from Tromsø, Norway. Shared by @El_Universo_Hoy via @cosmos4u
The Sun at the start of the eclipse as seen from Bodo, Norway. Shared by @Camilla_SDO
The Midnight Sun. Shared by @Astroguyz

See more June 1 Partial Solar Eclipse photos here and here.

I am now more excited to view the next upcoming eclipse this June 15. It will be nice Total Lunar Eclipse visible completely over Africa, South America, Europe, and to most parts of Asia. In western Asia, Australia and the Philippines, the lunar eclipse will be visible just before sunrise on June 16.

Hoping for clear skies! 🙂

Eclipses Visible in the Philippines During 2011

I noticed that most of my frequent visitors were searching for the eclipses in the Philippines for 2011. Well then folks, I have listed below the eclipses that could be observed in the Philippines throughout the year. 🙂

Four partial solar and two total lunar eclipses will take place in 2011 but only the  lunar eclipses will be visible in the Philippines. These two are both total lunar eclipses which means that during these events, we can actually see the entire disk of the Moon being covered by the Earth’s umbra — thus we can observe a nice Reddish Moon.

Geometry of a Lunar Eclipse

Photo of the Dec. 20 total lunar eclipse from Cochranville, Pa. taken by Kevin R. Witman, using a Meade LX50 10" Schmidt Cassegrain telescope and a Canon XS DSLR camera.

Total lunar eclipses are pretty rare events  so be sure to plan your observation ahead of time and make the most out of this astronomical experience. (In the Philippines, the last one happened during May 5, 2004)

Enjoy! 🙂

June 15 Total Lunar Eclipse

It will be visible completely over Africa, and Central Asia, visible rising over South America, western Africa, and Europe, and setting over eastern Asia. In western Asia, Australia and the Philippines, the lunar eclipse will be visible just before sunrise on June 16. (View NASA Map and Eclipse Information)

June 15, 2011 Eclipse Chart: The moon passes right to left through the Earth's shadow.

View the eclipse animation

Below are the complete eclipse circumstances as well as predicted times of each eclipse phase (in PHT or UT+8) computed by Fred Espenak of NASA. Altitude and azimuth approximations were provided by the Astronomical League of the Philippines (ALP).
Moon Enters Penumbra 01:24:27am 45 deg 212 deg S
Moon Enters Umbra 02:22:57am 37 deg 225 deg S
Moon Enters Totality 03:22:29am 26 deg 234 deg SW
Maximum Totality 04:13:44am 16 deg 240 deg SW
Moon Exits Totality 05:02:42am 06 deg 244 deg SW
Moonset 05:30:00am 00 deg 246 deg SW
Moon Exits Umbra (not visible) 06:02:14am ———- ———–
Moon Exits Penumbra (not visible) 07:00:41am ———- ———–
*The indicated times above are on June 16.
*Sunrise is at 05:26 AM.

According to the ALP, “this eclipse is particularly special because the Moon passes almost exactly in front of the center of the Earth’s shadow during totality phase thus giving us local viewers in the Philippines a long totality time of around 100 minutes” (1 hr 40 mins) .

The Moon will be located in the constellation Ophiuchus during this eclipse. Click to enlarge image.


December 10 Total Lunar Eclipse

This eclipse will be visible from all of Asia and Australia, seen as rising over eastern Europe, and setting over northwest North America. (View NASA Eclipse Information)

December 10, 2011 Eclipse Chart: The moon passes right to left through the Earth's shadow.

Contact Times : (All in PHT= UT +8)

Moon Enters Penumbra 19:33:36 31 deg 72 deg
Moon Enters Umbra 20:45:43 59 deg 72 deg
Moon Enters Totality 22:06:16 64 deg 67 deg
Maximum Totality 22:31:49 69 deg 63 deg
Moon Exits Totality 22:57:24 75 deg 55 deg
Moon Exits Umbra 00:17:58 79 deg 321 deg
Moon Exits Penumbra 01:29:57 65 deg 292 deg
Note: All eclipse stages are visible in the Philippines. 😀

Because I got too excited for this, I created a video simulation of the entire eclipse using Stellarium. The Moon is at the constellation Taurus during this event.

lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes behind the earth so that the earth blocks the sun’s rays from striking the moon. This can occur only when the Sun, Earth, and Moon are aligned exactly, or very closely so, with the Earth in the middle. Hence, there is always a full moon the night of a lunar eclipse.

Unlike observing solar eclipses wherein you need adequate eye protection, lunar eclipses are safe to watch with the naked eye. 🙂



January 4, 2011 Partial Solar Eclipse Webcast

Some parts of the world will be able to greet the first part of the new year with a Partial Solar Eclipse on the morning of Tuesday, January 4, 2011. This will be visible from most of Europe, the northern half of Africa, the Middle East and Western Asia. Sadly, this won’t be visible to the Philippines. The next eclipse that we will be able to witness will be the Lunar Eclipse on June 15 (eclipse at moonset) and the more spectacular Total Lunar Eclipse on December 10 which has all its stages visible to Philippine observers.

Four partial solar and two total lunar eclipses take place in 2011. According to NASA Eclipse Website, this 4:2 combination of solar and lunar eclipses in a single year is rather rare with only six cases during the 21st Century (2011, 2029, 2047, 2065, 2076 and 2094).

January 4, 2011 Eclipse Visibility | source: http://www.eclipse.org.uk/eclipse/0122011/ Click image to enlarge.

An explanation of this diagram can be found here.


> Local circumstances and animations for 532 different locations where the eclipse could be witnessed are also available from the the link included in the image caption.

> Universal Time (UT) is a timescale based on the earth’s rotation. To convert your local city time to UT, you may use this time zone converter tool.

A solar eclipse can only happen at new moon. When the moon totally covers over the sun, it’s called a total solar eclipse. However, since the moon only blocks out part of the sun today, it’s a partial solar eclipse. The percentage of sun that gets covered over by the moon depends on your place in the viewing zone. Remember to use proper eye protection when watching a solar eclipse! Here is a post from Sky & Telescope which discusses how to observe a partial solar eclipse safely.

To all other eclipse enthusiasts who won’t be able to observe this event from their own location or who can’t afford to travel to witness this phenomenon, I compiled here a list of links wherein you can watch free live web streaming of the eclipse courtesy of several local astronomical groups.

*The Moon will encroach 60% into the solar disk during thespecial live webcast by the Bareket Observatory.  The webcast will takes place from 7.00 to 10.30 UT (GMT) on January 4.  An “eclipse timer” on the webcast page will count down the time until first contact – the beginning of the eclipse when the Moon first appears to block the edge of the Sun’s disk – at 7.13 UT.

Please check this post for updates regarding these free webcasts. 😀

Clear skies to all!

Observing the December 21, 2010 Lunar Eclipse from Marikina City

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I and my fellow UP AstroSoc members, Aaron Misayah and Bea Banzuela observed the Partial Lunar Eclipse at Moonrise last Dec. 21, 2010 from the roof deck of Bea’s house in Marikina City.

During this observation, I took pictures using my portable Galileoscope and Kodak C813 8.0 megapixel digicam while Bea used her Canon 400D DSLR camera .

The sky was about 70-80% cloudy when we set up and the northeastern horizon was blocked with haze and big clouds. At first, we thought that we may never witness this event because the whole phase visible in the Philippines will occur at a very low altitude (below 5 deg.) and one must have a very clear eastern horizon to see the rising eclipsed moon.

At 5:44 PM, all of us become ecstatic as we turned our gaze to a bright yellowish light (which we soon recognized as the eclipsed right limb of the Moon) emerging from behind the clouds above the mountains. We were so amazed by this spectacular view that we almost forgot to take pictures of it. 😀

Some of the images we took are compiled in a slideshow above. All time indicated were in PST (UT + 8). Meanwhile, here is a multiple exposure sequence photograph (a sequence of 5 images aligned and stacked in Photoshop) and a time-lapse video (with indigenous background music) of the Partial Lunar Eclipse visible in the Philippines both created by Bea Banzuela.





This ‘celestial  experience‘ was indeed an early Christmas gift from above 🙂

Partial Lunar Eclipse in the Philippines on December 2010


Lunar Eclipse animation (from wikipedia.org)

A Total Lunar Eclipse will darken the Moon on December 21. The entire event will be visible from North America with areas to the east, such as South America, Europe, and western Africa, catching the eclipse during Moonset and areas to the west, such as Australia and eastern and northern Asia, seeing the event at Moonrise. Only southern and eastern Africa, the Middle East and India and surrounding countries will miss out on the eclipse entirely. The limb of the Moon begins to fall into the dark shadow of Earth at Dec. 21 6:32 a.m. UTC. The total stage, when the Moon is completely within Earth’s shadow, lasts for approximately 73 minutes, from 5:40 a.m. to 8:53 a.m. UT. During totality, the Moon can take on strange shades, from orange to red to violet, depending on the particulates in the atmosphere at different locations. The event is over by 10:02 a.m. UT.

Moon at 5:45 PM (Dec. 21) Alt/Azimuth: 2 deg. from the NE horizon / 65 deg. ~30% partiality (Manila, Philippines)

Philippine observers will have a chance to witness a Partial Lunar Eclipse at moonrise (5:31 PM) on Dec. 21, 2010. The major phases (visible to the Philippines) of the eclipse are as follows:

(All in PST= UT +8)
5:31 PM — Moonrise (~40-50% partiality, 65 degrees azimuth NE)
6:01 PM — Partial eclipse ends
7:04 PM — Penumbral eclipse ends (~5 deg. from the horizon)

Lunar eclipses are safe to watch and observers need not use any kind of protective filters for the eyes. A pair of binocular will help magnify the view and will make the red coloration of the Moon brighter.

A total lunar eclipse happens when the moon is full and passes exactly through the line connecting the Earth and the sun.


Note: Observing this eclipse is a challenge 😀 You need a very clear eastern horizon to see this (Moon will be just about 5 degrees above the horizon. The general rule amateur astronomers use is that the width of your fist from top to bottom held at arm’s length equals about 10 degrees.)

Weather forecast (Manila) for tomorrow: http://bit.ly/hKVxse (includes percent cloud cover, chance of precipitation, wind direction, etc.)

Let’s pray for clear skies 🙂


sources: Stellarium (planetarium software), PAGASA, timeanddate.com

*Percent partiality are only based on my estimations (using Stellarium).

Coincidences: This lunar eclipse falls on the date of the northern winter solstice. How rare is that? Total lunar eclipses in northern winter are fairly common. There have been three of them in the past ten years alone. A lunar eclipse smack-dab on the date of the solstice, however, is unusual. Geoff Chester of the US Naval Observatory inspected a list of eclipses going back 2000 years. “Since Year 1, I can only find one previous instance of an eclipse matching the same calendar date as the solstice, and that is 1638 DEC 21,” says Chester. “Fortunately we won’t have to wait 372 years for the next one…that will be on 2094 DEC 21.” – SPACE.com

Winter Solstice in the Philippines however, will occur at 7:38 AM, Dec. 22, 2010 (according to PAGASA), which means that the partial lunar eclipse and the winter solstice will NOT happen on the same calendar date.

Nonetheless, astronomer Phil Plait (BadAstronomer) said that, “Technically, eclipse is same day as solstice, but it’s not significant. If you use GMT, all of eclipse is same day as solstice…but no one in GMT time zone will be able to see the eclipse!”

Related APOD: A Lunar Eclipse on Solstice Day

Eclipse circumstances on other parts of the globe: NASA Eclipse Website

Those who will not see the eclipse from their location can watch online thanks to Night Skies Network (NSN).

You can also get involved in the “Eclipses Without Borders“, another great project by Astronomers Without Borders (AWB).

My Second at AAPOD!

The partial lunar eclipse image that I took with two fellow Filipino amateurs was chosen as today’s Amateur Astronomy Picture of the Day (AAPOD)! 😀

You can view the image here.

This is the second time that my  astronomy photo got posted in AAPOD. The first one was featured last June 2, 2010 and was entitled, “Venus-Crescent Moon Conjunction“.

The July 2010 Total Solar Eclipse Webcast

Last July 11, 2010, a total solar eclipse arced across the southern Pacific Ocean, blotting out the sun and offering stunning views to skywatchers, some of whom ventured to remote islands or rode cruise ships just to see the event.

Not everyone can spare the time and money to go on eclipse expeditions though. Good thing, one can still chase eclipses , thanks to webcasts available over the Internet which were made possible through the great efforts of astronomers and eclipse-chasers who went to the ends of the earth to catch this spectacular event  😀

Seeing an eclipse on your computer screen can’t possibly match catching sight of the black sun in person, of course but experiencing the eclipse online can still give you a glimpse of one of nature’s rarest phenomena. You’ll also feel the thrill of the hunt – because eclipse-watching over the Web, like eclipse-watching in person, involves more than a little bit of persistence and luck.

A fellow amateur astronomer, Thilina Heenatigala from Sri Lanka, was kind enough to share a list of web-streams which he compiled so that everyone can watch the eclipse live. Unfortunately, due to flu I was not able to take screen shots of the web stream 😦 The following captures were made by Thilina himself which came from the live web stream via a group from Wakayama University at Hao (French Polynesia).

The central part of the moon’s shadow touched down around 2:15 p.m. ET Sunday, zoomed over the ocean, hit the French Polynesian island of Tatakoto around 2:45 p.m. and passed over Easter Island’s throngs starting at 4:08 p.m. ET. The eclipse finished up over Chile and Argentina, near the southernmost tip of South America, at 4:51 p.m. ET.

The total phase of the eclipse lasted only a few minutes at most. The partial phase, during which the moon slowly covered up the sun’s disk and then retreated, lasted much longer – about an hour and a half on each side of totality on Easter Island, for instance.

I also found some beautiful images and videos of the eclipse online. Those were taken and documented by eclipse-chasers which came from all over the world 😀

The very spectacular diamond ring effect!

Totality at its best

Viewing a total solar eclipse, even just on your computer 😛 is really an astounding experience. Hopefully I could also watch the event live with my own eyes soon  😀


video and image credits:

(web captures) http://www.ustream.tv/channel/live-eclipse1/v3

(high-res eclipse images) Bill Kramer http://www.eclipse-chasers.com/tse2010.html

(video) David Makepeace http://www.eclipseguy.com

The South Pacific Total Solar Eclipse

South Pacific eclipse on July 22, 2009 taken from Cook Islands by astrophotographer Alan Dyer (image credit: http://science.nasa.gov)

On Sunday, July 11th, the new Moon will pass directly in front of the sun, producing a spectacular total eclipse over the South Pacific. The path of totality stretches across more than a thousand miles of ocean, making landfall in the Cook Islands, Easter Island, a number of French Polynesian atolls, and the southern tip of South America.

The Moon’s penumbral shadow produces a partial eclipse visible from a much larger region covering the South Pacific and southern South America. Those lucky enough to have made it to the Pacific will witness the last total eclipse to occur until November 2012.

The timings of the eclipse are below.

(P1) Partial begin 17:09:41 UT
(U1) Total begin 18:15:15 UT
Greatest eclipse 19:34:38 UT
(U4) Total end 20:51:42 UT
(P4) Partial end 21:57:16 UT

Additional information regarding the eclipse can be found from this site. See also this map to view the path of the eclipse.

According to Lika Guhathakurta of NASA’s Heliophysics Division in Washington DC, this eclipse will going to be a beautiful sight. She imagines how the event will unfold: First, the Moon’s cool shadow will sweep across the landscape, bringing a breeze of its own to compete with the sea’s. Attentive observers might notice shadow bands (a well-known but mysterious corrugation of the Moon’s outermost shadow) rippling across the beach as the temperature and direction of the wind shift. The ensuing darkness will have an alien quality, not as black as genuine night, but dark enough to convince seabirds to fly to their island roosts. As their cries subside, the sounds of night creatures come to the fore, a noontime symphony of crickets and frogs.

Next comes the moment that obsesses eclipse chasers: The corona pops into view. When the Moon is dead-center in front of the sun, mesmerizing tendrils of gas spread across the sky. It is the sun’s outer atmosphere on full display to the human eye.

Indeed, observing a total solar eclipse is a rare and special experience 😀 Sadly, this event won’t be visible here in the Philippines wherein it will occur at 1pm of July 12th.

But, there’s still a chance to see this eclipse live online 😀

In the following, you find a list of links (courtesy of Thilina Heenatigala) to the website where you can watch the web stream:

Web streams:


LIVE! ECLIPSE 2010 – UStream channel

Shelios Association/Universidad Politécnica de Madrid’s Ciclope Group

Mision Eclipse (Spanish)


Shelios 2010

Eclipse Tahiti (French)

Eclipse Tahiti (French) UStream channel.

MiC Paris (Japanese)

Saros.org (live pictures)

Enjoy and invite friends to join in!




On Sunday, July 11th, the new Moon will pass directly in front of the sun, producing a total eclipse over the South Pacific. The path of totality stretches across more than a thousand miles of ocean, making landfall in the Cook Islands, Easter Island, a number of French Polynesian atolls, and the southern tip of South America: map

Observation of the June 2010 Partial Lunar Eclipse

The partial lunar eclipse last June 26, 2010 was the first of two lunar eclipses in 2010.  At maximum eclipse, 53.7% of the moon was covered by the earth’s shadow. Full details of the eclipse can be found in from my previous blog post. I and two of my UP Astrosoc colleagues decided to observe this event and take images from Marikina City.

At first, we were anxious that we would not be able to observe the partial lunar eclipse due to the thick rain clouds covering the whole observation area. The sky was overcast that day and it started raining at around 7pm. Using Stellarium, I located the moon in the western sky, but the clouds blocked even the slightest trace of moonlight.

We decided to transfer to another location within the same area where we could get a better view. There were no objects that could be seen through the thick clouds anyway so we just spent our time looking for a nice spot to observe when the rain stopped. While walking past the street corner, we saw this house that had a two-leveled roof deck, ideal for our observation and high enough not to be blocked by any other building that surrounds it. It was a good place for observation, however we are too shy to approach the owner of that house.
Driven by our willingness to observe this rare phenomenon, we overcame our hesitation and went to that house. Fortunately, the owner of the house allowed us to use the top deck. We had our equipment then, so I think we somewhat looked sincere with our request.

As we went up to the deck, we saw a beautiful view of the city with those little lights from below which reminded me of the stars on a dark night. We began to set up our equipment and prepared for the appearance of Luna. After several minutes, it rained. We stayed under an umbrella and used the spare ones to protect our camera and laptop. We just stayed there to wait though a slight shadow of desperation was coming over us then. The rain just seemed to drag on and on and we were soon thinking of packing up our things and going home.

Luckily, after more than an hour of waiting in the rain while holding on to our hopes by praying, the skies began to clear up. Venus appeared in the west, and the moon finally showed itself to us with its upper part still covered by the umbra. We immediately used the binoculars to make sure that it was not just clouds covering the moon. It was a few minutes past 8pm then, and according to the predicted eclipse activity, the moon would still be eclipsed though we had already missed the maximum.

We took several photos at different settings. We needed to adjust our camera’s settings every now and then because the clouds were moving fast in front of the moon. There were even times when we needed to wait for minutes for the clouds to pass. Good thing that despite the little time left for us to take photos and the thick clouds, we were still able to get nice shots.

We left the place a little past 10pm, when the penumbral eclipse was about to end.

Unfortunately, were not able to witness the maximum eclipse because of the rain. Nevertheless, I still feel so blessed to have been able to take images of this event 😀

We will surely never forget this experience for it deepened our love for astronomy and the sky. We are now more inspired to do astro imaging for the next astronomical event.

Photo details: We took the photos using Canon PowerShot SX20

Post-processing was done using Registax V.5.1 to enhance the lunar features.

Location: Marikina City, Philippines

Coordinates: 14°38’20″N 121°7’32″E

We took this image while waiting for Luna to come out

Image of the eclipsed moon by Stellarium (It’s looks exactly the same as the image we took during the same time!)

Moon still at umbra

Partial Lunar Eclipse of June 26, 2010

The Second eclipse of 2010 which will occur on June 26, will be visible in the Philippines as a partial lunar eclipse.

According to PAGASA, the Philippines will have a chance to see the moon turn red during this event.

The eclipse magnitude will be 54.2 percent and will also be visible primarily in some parts of America, Pacific Ocean, Antarctica, eastern Asia, and Australasia. The eclipse will begin at 4:55 PM Philippine Standard Time (PST) and will end at 10:21 PM (PST).

Following are the eclipse circumstances for Manila observers:

Eclipse Magnitude: 54.2 percent

Penumbral eclipse begins: 4:55 PM

Partial eclipse begins 6:16 PM

Greatest eclipse 7:38 PM

Partial eclipse ends 9:00 PM

Penumbral eclipse ends 10:21 PM

sunset: 6:28 pm

moonrise: 6:24 pm (full at 7:31 pm)

“Lunar eclipses are safe to watch and observers need not use any kind of protective filters for the eyes. A pair of binoculars will help magnify the view and will make the red coloration of the moon brighter,” said PAGASA Administrator Prisco Nilo.

Clear skies everyone and happy observing! 😀


http://kidlat.pagasa.dost. gov.ph/agssb/astro_web/ast rodiary.html

image credits:

[1] “partial lunar eclipse of august, 2008” http://www.abc.net.au

[2] “eclipse diagram” http://kidlat.pagasa.dost.gov.ph

[3] David Miller/David Malin Images (TWAN photos)