This is a long-overdue post. 😛 I was really busy during the past few weeks so I never found enough time to write a blog. Anyway…
Last February, the Filipino astronomy community celebrated the 18th National Astronomy Week, the theme for which was “Astronomy Transforming the Culture of Learning Toward Nation Building”.
As part of this major celebration, the University of the Philippines Astronomical Society (UP AstroSoc) organized two public observation events based on the concept of ‘Sidewalk Astronomy’ last February 25 at the Quezon Memorial Circle and last February 27 at the Rizal Park.
Sidewalk Astronomy refers to the activity of setting up telescopes in an urban setting for a profit or non-profit basis as an entertainment or for public education. With the coming and growth of organized amateur astronomical groups, sidewalk astronomy has become associated with public education about astronomy via free public viewing for anyone who wishes to look through the telescope.
It’s like bringing astronomy to as many people as possible through public observations. 😀
Both events started at 6:00 PM. Even though the sky was a bit cloudy throughout that week and light pollution is a huge concern when observing in urban areas, we were still lucky enough to catch glimpses of the celestial objects like Jupiter, Saturn, bright Sirius, the Pleiades and the Orion Nebula through our telescopes. Unfortunately, the Moon – our favorite viewing target – did not rise until past midnight so we were not able to see it.
During the last public viewing at the Rizal Park, there were a lot of people who came by to peek through the telescopes. Most of them were families spending time together at the park. At first, it was a real challenge keeping the crowd – especially the kids – from bumping the telescopes. Everyone was too excited. 😀 Nonetheless, we soon were able to make the viewing more organized so that everyone had a chance to peek through the telescopes.
Some of my fellow orgmates also gave short lectures on skygazing using Stellarium and astronomy books to those waiting in line.
It was fun to see people enjoying the view of the night sky. 🙂 I suddenly realized that I so love the job of promoting astronomy with many people especially to the young ones; hearing about how amazed they are while looking up the sky is truly priceless. 🙂
It eventually become cloudier as the night went on. As it was already late and there was almost nothing that could be seen above except thick grey clouds, we decided to end the activity at around 11:00 PM.
The event was enjoyable! 🙂 To us, it was a really memorable way of capping off the celebration of the National Astronomy Week in the Philippines.
To my fellow amateur astronomers, I suggest that you try sidewalk astronomy, too. I have found it to be a truly rewarding experience. People are very appreciative of the effort that I and my orgmates have given and I also made new friends along the way while having a great time.
Thank you to everyone who joined us in this event, especially to RTU Astronomical Society and cheers to those organizations who also held their events for this year’s NAW celebration.
May the goal of sharing the night sky to everyone continuously unite us all.
Ad astra per aspera! 🙂
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Photos by Julee Ann Olave and Ana Geronimo of UP AstroSoc
My image of the Lunar Perigree or ‘Supermoon’ last March 19, 2011 just got featured in Discovery News 2011 Supermoon Readers’ Photographs. Yay! 😀
It’s included in the slideshow found on this link.
Haha, I actually didn’t submitted mine so I wonder how it got there. I just received a pingback from the page to my blog the other day that’s why I learned about it.
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:
- Website: http://www.gam-awb.org
- Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Global-Astronomy-Month-2011/139709899412771
Get to know more about Astronomy in a more fun and interesting way through Popcorn Astronomy!
Like Popcorn Astronomy on Facebook!
A friend and fellow amateur astronomer from the University of the Philippines Astronomical Society (UP Astrosoc), Ronald Buenaflor coined this term to describe learning seemingly difficult astronomical concepts through an easier, interesting and “digestible” manner. According to him, “It’s like eating popcorns while looking up the sky”. Popcorn Astronomy’s Facebook page aims to share trivia and other fun stuff related to astronomy to make it more fascinating for everyone.
Astronomy is a cool science. Whether you are simply a gazer of stars or an avid student of astronomy, there is always something new to learn about our galaxy and beyond. The study of astronomy gives us essential information about the universe that is used for practical and scientific applications.
Despite astronomy being the scientific study of the heavens, you don’t have to be a scientist to be an astronomer. Anyone with the proper know-how, determination, and persistence , with or without equipment, can make contributions to the field of astronomy. In fact, astronomy is one of the fields whose body of knowledge can and is regularly enlarged by the efforts of amateurs. This is especially true when it comes to observing and documenting transient phenomena, where professional astronomers simply may not be available to observe them.
Astronomy is simply amazing that’s why I love it. 😀 It’s beautiful, it ignites our curiosity, it’s extreme, and it tells a lot about our past and future. 😀
To the stars!
A third Jupiter impact event in thirteen months has been captured by yet another diligent amateur observer.
Japanese amateur astronomer Masayuki Tachikawa caught the possible fireball event in a video at 18:22 UT on 20 August as a brief, two second, brightening near the north edge of Jupiter’s Northern Equatorial Belt. The flash, likely a small asteroid or comet burning up in Jupiter’s atmosphere, was later confirmed by another Japanese astronomer Aoki Kazu. Astronomers watching Jupiter for two rotations after the event found no trace of the impact.
The flash bears a striking resemblance to that observed by Anthony Wesley from Australia and Christopher Go from the Philippines on 3 June this year, and follows the report of a larger impact event, also observed by Wesley in July 2009, that left a dark impact scar in Jupiter’s atmosphere exactly fifteen years after the famous collision of comet Shoemaker Levy-9 with the gas giant.
The observations not only demonstrate the importance of amateur observations for monitoring our Solar System environment, but also the relative frequency of impact events still occurring in our planetary neighborhood today 😀
Below are the videos taken by Go and Tachikawa: