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

Space Art

Art and Astronomy: Transit of Venus by Norman Marigza

Transit of Venus (medium: acrylic)

Only a few days left to the last transit of Venus of our lifetimes! Miss it and you won’t be able to witness it until the year 2117.

Amateur and professional astronomers from all over the globe were already gearing up for this big event. There were talks, lectures, public observations, videos, and other several projects and activities initiated by various local groups to promote this event among the public.

But one of  our astro-friends here has another cool way of sharing his knowledge and enthusiasm for this upcoming event, and that is through painting.

Shown above is an artistic depiction of the upcoming Transit of Venus created by Norman Marigza, a young Filipino artist who is also in the field of Physics and Astronomy. According to him, his two greatest passions in life are Art and Astronomy, hence he can do both. He’s surely a gifted person, isn’t he?

To see his other astro-artworks, please visit his website http://blogstargazers.blogspot.com/2010/01/astroart-by-norman.html

During the transit of Venus, we will be able to see the Venus as a small dot gliding slowly across the face of the sun. It happens when Venus passes directly between Earth and the Sun.

Historically, this rare alignment is how we measured the size of our solar system.

Astro Poem: Like a Diamond in the Sky

The night sky and its heavenly objects have been sources of surreal wonderment and creative inspiration for a lot of people, especially artists, songwriters and poets since long time ago. The beauty of the sky above us is truly powerful enough to inspire our imaginations and bend our emotions.

People from different cultures have several ways of expressing their admiration of the heavens. Some paint, some take images using cameras and others write stories and poems.

In the astronomy community, organizations such as the Astronomers Without Borders have already taken the initiative to collect literary contributions pertaining to the night sky. Just recently, a project called the Astropoetry Blog was set up by AWB during the celebration of the Global Astronomy Month (GAM) to serve as a repository of astropoems relating to GAM 2011 programs

Anyway, a nice poem here about our very own Sun was shared by its talented poet, Harley White who has already written a lot of good literary works. Harley sent me an email and allowed me to post her very well-written poem through this blog. Thank you, Harley! 🙂


Like a Diamond in the Sky

Twinkle the stars in night’s display—
Sun’s shining rays light up the day…
and yet, if futures vast we may
divine, white dwarf with diamond core
(that crystallized in ages yore)
will pulsate like a cosmic gong
its tintinnabulary song
(no longer sunbeams to bestow)
in seven billion years or so…;

then Sol might twinkle for the eyes
of distant poets far more wise,
beyond our cares— whoever dares
(if dreamers dwell in heres and theres,
whate’er whene’er where’er they are)
to seek and find our once bright star
(that like us also flames and dies)—
those with the loupe to look with sighs
for long lost Lucys in the skies…

Harley White, September 2010

According to the author, the article that inspired this writing was this: “Diamond star thrills astronomers“.

Visit Harley White’s website to see her other written works. 

I hope more people would be inspired to write their own astronomy poems as well. To the stars! 🙂

*image above was taken from http://www.inspirationline.com

Halloween Celebration and Astronomy

IC 2118 (Witch Head Nebula) in Orion. Original image credit: NASA/STScI Digitized Sky Survey

Did you know that Halloween is a significant day on the astronomical calendar?

Surprising, isn’t it? Halloween means more than just a day for spooky stuff, costumes and candy treats. This celebration is actually a cross-quarter day which means it falls approximately half way between the Autumnal Equinox, the astronomical start of fall and Winter Solstice, the astronomical start of winter.

Red crosses mark the year’s cross-quarter dates. Credit: NASA

It’s no coincidence that Halloween has a dark side. Halloween is believed to have originated with the ancient Celtic harvest festival Samhain. Samhain roughly translates to “summer’s end”. It was the date that signaled the start of winter when most plant life is dead. A season where food would be limited and living conditions would be less than favorable. It was a day of celebration and of dread, the line between the living summer and the dead winter.  It was not until middle ages that the day was associated with the Christian holidays of All Saints Day and All Souls Days.

This year’s Halloween has  a bit of something for everyone. This is because the eastern sky during late October nights is filled with deep sky treats for stargazers of all types.

For the naked eye observer, the first of the brilliant stars of winter start to peek over the eastern horizon: Capella and Aldebaran. Three of the nearest galactic star clusters are visible to the naked eye: the Pleiades, the Hyades, and the Perseus Moving Cluster.

Halloween Sky Treat — eastern sky on Oct. 31, 2011 (around 9:30 PM)

Want more? Check out these links to see a gallery of eerie and spooky space images:

Happy Halloween! 🙂

The Moon and Stars…on my Hand!

Our student council to which I am a member offered a free “face paint” service during the Alumni Homecoming celebration in our college last month.

Instead of having it on my face, I let the artist paint the Moon and Stars art on my hand. 🙂 It’s really cool.

This was the second time that I had something “astronomical” painted on my hand. Haha!

My Sun Henna Tattoo


Astronomy Jokes

DID YOU KNOW that a new constellation has just taken hold of the sky, much to the surprise of many sky gazers? The constellation of Ollie the Owl has suddenly started dominating the southern hemisphere, as shown above. The constellation is taking the place of Wrinkles the Rhinoceros, who was unexpectedly voted off they sky by the other constellations.

April Fools! 😀

OK, folks. April 1 which is a day of practical jokes, leg pulling, parody and pranks in Western culture was just over —  but I since I found this APOD image while looking for April Fools’ Day pranks on the Internet I decided to compile a few astronomy and space related humor, including jokes, riddles, and cartoons to tickle your funny bone. By the way, those guys at APOD posts images like this every year.

Yeah, even astronomers play pranks, too. 😛

The pictured above, a bird was photographed taking the Tololo All Sky Camera (TASCA) as a perch, a situation that would be even funnier if the bird’s talons hadn’t scratched the plastic enclosing dome.

Have fun!

(images can be clicked to see hi-res versions)

Q: What did the astronaut cook for lunch?

A: An unidentified frying object.

Q: Why didn’t the dog star laugh at the joke?

A: It was too Sirius.



Q: How does the solar system holds up its pants?

A: With an asteroid belt.

Q: What kind of cartoons do Martians watch?

A: Loonertunes.


Q: If a meteorite hits a planet, what do we call the ones that miss?

A: Meteowrongs


Q: What did the boy star say to the girl star?

A: I really glow for you.


Q: Why was the baby constellation sillier than the daddy constellation?

A: Because he was a little dipier.


Q: What do you call a crazy moon?

A: A Luna-Tick.

Q: What kind of songs do the planets like to sing?

A: Nep-tunes.


Q: What kind of light goes around the Earth?

A: A satel-lite.



Q: What did Saturn say to Jupiter when he asked if he could call him?

A: Don’t call me, I’ll give you a ring.


Q: How does the man in the moon cut his hair?

A: Eclipse it.



A spiral galaxy walks into a pub. The landlord says “Sorry mate, you’re barred”.


It is estimated that 3.71 X 10^10 “first-star-tonight” wishes have been wasted on Venus.


Can’t get enough of funny astronomy cartoons? Visit this site!

Also, check out Popcorn Astronomy Page on Facebook to view cool astronomy stuff.  🙂



Date with a Comet on Valentines Day!

The planned Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14, 2011) rendezvous between NASA’s Stardust-NExT mission and comet Tempel 1 inspired this chocolate-themed artist’s concept.

Read more about this mission and learn how you can watch the live webcasts of this event on NASA TV here. Also, check out this site to know Five Cool Facts  about NASA’s Stardust-NExT spacecraft as it prepares for a Valentine’s “date” with comet Tempel 1.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Happy Valentine’s Day from Space!

The Heart Nebula, IC 1805 resemble the silhouette of the heart from which takes its name. It lies some 7500 light years away from Earth, located in the Perseus arm of the Galaxy in the constellation Cassiopeia. This is an emission nebula showing glowing gas and darker dust lanes.

Happy Heart’s Day, everyone! 🙂

Image source: Rick Wiggins/Earthlink.net (used without permission)

My Blue-ish Moon!


Does Luna looked lovelier in blue? 😀

I was inspired by Mr. Michael Peterson’s Blue Moon post so I decided to make my own just for fun 😀

This full moon was taken last Nov. 22, 2010 using MicroObservatory online telescope.

Don’t be fooled 🙂 This image was just enhanced and recolored to make it appear bluish.

The term”Blue moon” has nothing to do with the color of our closest celestial neighbor. The November 22, 2010 Blue Moon is the third of four full moons between the September 2010 equinox and December 2010 solstice.

‘Til next Blue Moon! 😀

Astronomy through Poetry

I was searching for astronomy-related blogs, but instead I found these two very nice poems,  with cute pictures of the moon and night sky. With the permission of its author, I thought of sharing them with everyone 😀

Night Sky

by Chloe Richmond*

The moon had a pale, mischievous smile
upon its whitish lips
it thought the stars were playing up
as they sparkled like distant ships

The sky less dark, the sky less black
and not so overcast
the moon did yawn
his eyes did blink
as the stars took down their masts

== § § § § § § § § § § § § ==

Release Your Dreams

by Chloe Richmond*

Once upon a moonbeam
where dreams are made
and bright stars gleam
think about life
and what it means,
evidently not always what it seems

Quit focusing on the minutiae
see instead the vastness and try
to know in its’ beauty
your destiny is aligned
your ability to achieve is just as high
as the jewels cast in that star-dripping sky
so trust in your ability
to let yourself fly

*Chloe writes good poems 🙂 You can check her other works in her blog, Writing Days — Happy Days.