UP Astronomical Society in collaboration with Trade School Manila invites you to
The Travel Package to Outer Space I
A class (for all ages) that consists of interesting presentations about the following topics (celestial sphere, astronomical events and misconceptions, constellation and time telling). Fun DIY experiments await after the presentation!
NO REGISTRATION FEE! Take the class and pay for it with an item from the instructor’s wish list: tent, storage box, kiddie/roll up mats, flashlight with red lens, electric floor/box fan, celestial sphere model or celestial globe, Astronomy books (brand new or second hand)
This event is on October 5, 2013, 6:00pm at Liberty Plaza, 102 H.V. Dela Costa Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City.
Directions on how to get to the venue: You can ride the MRT and get off at Buendia Station. Ride a jeepney beside McDonald’s and go down at Buendia-Makati Avenue (Petron gas station). Cross the street to get to the other side (Pacific Star building) and walk straight at Makati Avenue until you reach H.V. dela Costa. Walk through H.V. dela Costa until you reach Commune (it’s at the corner of Valero and H.V. dela Costa).
BARTER FOR KNOWLEDGE!
Register now at http://www.tiny.cc/astrotrade
This year’s National Astronomy Week (NAW) falls on 18-24 February 2013. NAW is an annual event in the Philippines that is observed every third week of February under Presidential Proclamation No. 130. The theme of this year’s celebration is “Solar Max 2013: Discovering the Sun’s Awakening Power”.
The Philippine astronomy community is especially active during this period. This year, aside from the exciting activities that are usually prepared by several amateur astronomy groups, PAGASA also launched its first astrophotography contest for Elementary/High School Level (combined level) and College Students.
Below is a list of NAW 2013 activities organized by various Philippine astronomy organizations. (information taken from their own respective websites)
For more information or for other inquiries, kindly leave a comment or visit the online pages of the respective organizations.
Clear skies and happy NAW! 🙂
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The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), the agency mandated under Presidential Proclamation No. 130, to spearhead the annual celebration, has prepared the following activities for the whole celebration:
- Free Planetarium Shows
- Stargazing and Telescoping Sessions at PAGASA Observatory
- First Astrophotography Contest for Elementary/High School Level (combined level) and College Students (First-Come, First-Served Basis)
- Free Posters in Astronomy to Visiting Schools at the Planetarium and Astronomical Observatory.
- Free 2 days Mobile Planetarium Shows, Stargazing and Telescoping Sessions in Selected Public Elementary and High School Students in Legazpi City.
- Seminar/Workshop on Basic and Observational Astronomy for Public Science Teachers in Metro Manila.
The free planetarium shows and lecture and telescoping sessions will be eld at the PAGASA Science Garden and Astronomical Observatory, respectively. It will be scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis. Planetarium shows will be conducted from 8:00 AM to 5:00 P.M. daily, while telescoping sessions will start at 7:00 o’clock nightly. Please see Attachment 1 for the mechanics of the 1st Astrophotography Contest.
The Seminar/Workshop for Public Science Teachers of Metro Manila will be conducted at the Main Conference Room, 2nd Floor, PAGASA Central Office Bldg., Science Garden, Agham Road, Diliman Quezon City on 22 February 2013 at 2:30 PM. A stargazing session will follow after the Seminar/Workshop, which will be held at the PAGASA Astronomical Observatory, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City.
Interested parties who would like to visit our astronomical facilities during the celebration may call at telephone number 434-2715 for reservation purposes. Please click the following links for the Mechanics andRegistration Forms.
For further inquiries, please visit their website at http://www.pagasa.dost.gov.ph.
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For more inquiries on ALP NAW activities, please contact NAW Chairman Christopher Louie Lu at (0919) 3057176.
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20th National Astronomy Week 2013
Schedule of Activities NAW 2013
NAW special guests:
Arnold Clavio – Guest of Honor – Distinguished UST Alumni, TV GMA Personality
Prof. Edmund Rosales – Project Director, SkyXplore; ABS weather broadcaster
The image below shows the contest event floor plan.
Registration for the different competitions can be done by e-mailing your confirmation together with the list of participants to firstname.lastname@example.org.
PAS NAW CAMPUS TOUR
February 19: Paco Catholic School – “The Universe As We Know It” by Engr. Camilo Dacanay
February 20: Ateneo – “Physics and The Study of the Universe” by Engr. Camilo Dacanay
February 22: FEU-EAC – “Space: Weather Effects and Consequences” ” by Engr. Camilo Dacanay
February 22: International Beacon School – “Stellar Evolution” by Engr. Camilo Dacanay
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The University of the Philippines Astronomical Society (UP AstroSoc), together with other Philippine astronomical organizations, celebrates the 20th National Astronomy Week (NAW) on February 16-23, 2013. UP AstroSoc prepared a line-up of activities geared towards the organization’s objective of being able to enhance the awareness, interests, knowledge, and understanding of astronomy among students and the general public. The three main “star”-studded events that would be on February 23, 2013 are Big Bang, Take Off, and the Teachers’ Seminar.
BIG BANG!: The Astronomical Quiz Show
Big Bang is a quiz show that will surely make high school students not just think outside of the box but think outside our world. It aims to showcase their knowledge about astronomy and boost their competitiveness as they battle for victory against students from Central Luzon, CALABARZON, and NCR. Big Bang would definitely create a loud blast this year so join now, if you can handle it. Prizes await for those who can.
TAKE OFF!: A Rocket-Making Competition
Take Off is a competition that will absolutely take you up to the skies. With their creativity and innovativeness, students would make their own rockets using plastic bottles and boost it with pumped air and water. The competitors would soar high as their rockets fly high to reach the gold.
TEACHERS’ SEMINAR: Astronomy Education
UP AstroSoc believes that we should first appreciate before we educate. That is why for this year, not only the students but also the teachers would take part of the National Astronomy Week celebration. The Teachers’ Seminar aims to discuss through our educators what could we gain in promoting and spreading our knowledge of Astronomy to the society, the country, and to all humanity. Some of the basic astronomical concepts would also be discussed during the seminar.
For inquiries, you may contact us at:
BIG BANG!:Liezl Ann Motilla @ 09058052777 / email@example.com
TAKE OFF!: Kristine Jane Atienza @ 09152397942 / firstname.lastname@example.org
TEACHERS’ SEMINAR: Ericka Jane Angeles @ 09264254774 / email@example.com
For more questions regarding Astronomy and UP AstroSoc, feel free to like us on Facebook (www.facebook/upastrosoc), follow us on Twitter (@upastrosoc), and visit our website (www.askupastrosoc.blogspot.com).
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Visit https://www.facebook.com/uplbastrosoc for more details.
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Stay tuned for updates!
UP Astronomical Society is now open for Summer Application!
See you this thursday, 19 April 2012 6pm at the PAGASA Astronomical Observatory Moon Deck near CHE.
Get the chance to look through the largest telescope in the Philippines, Andre the Giant!
Don’t miss it! 🙂
For inquiries, please contact
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About UP Astrosoc…
The University of the Philippines Astronomical Society (UP Astrosoc) is a non-profit, non-political and non-partisan organization in the University of the Philippines, Diliman established in 1991. UP Astrosoc now resides at the PAGASA Astronomical Observatory inside the UP Diliman Campus in Quezon City.
The New Moon this month will guarantee the perfect dark sky to watch the Ancient April “shooting stars” called the Lyrid Meteor Shower or the Lyrids.
The Lyrids fall from Comet C1861 G1 Thatcher as the Earth passes through her tail. Activity from this meteor shower can be observed from 16 April to 25 April, but the perfect time to catch the Lyrids is during late night of the 21st to the early morning of the 22nd.
The Lyrids can offer a display of 10 to 20 per hour or have a surge of activity of up to 100 per hour.
The Lyrids, so named because they appear to originate from the constellation Lyra (The Lyre), have been observed in the night sky during mid-April for at least 2,500 years, NASA scientists say. On 21 – 22 of April you can see Lyra rise at around 11PM (local time) from the north east and continue to rise high into the sky towards the south east during the darkest hours of the night sky.
The fifth-brightest star of the sky, alpha Lyr, called Vega (arabic for “stone eagle”), radiates from the top of Lyra with a pure white colour. Together with alpha Cyg, Deneb , and alpha Aql, Atair, Vega forms the famous asterism, the Summer Triangle (shown above).
Lyrid meteors are usually around magnitude +2, which is bright enough to be visible from most cities, but you’ll see more and enjoy them more if you leave the city for a less light-polluted area where the stars shine brighter. They often produce luminous trains of dust that can be observed for several seconds. Some Lyrids will be brighter, though, and the occassional “fireball” can cast shadows for a split second and leave behind glowing, smoky debris trails that last for minutes.
So, how do you watch these meteors? Like any other meteor shower event, watching the Lyrids requires no special viewing equipment like binoculars or telescopes. All you need is an open sky and a place to lie down and relax. Someplace dark, away from trees and buildings is best. Meteors zip across the sky, so the more sky you see the better. Gaze into the stars, and be patient. The best direction to watch is wherever your sky is darkest, usually straight up, perhaps with a little inclination toward the radiant.
As an observer, you can make a careful meteor count and report it to the International Meteor Organization. Such counts are analyzed to yield the shower’s zenithal hourly rate (ZHR), which is the number of meteors that a single observer would see per hour under ideal conditions: with the radiant directly overhead (at the zenith) and the sky dark enough to reveal 6.5-magnitude stars.
During Global Astronomy Month (GAM 2012), everyone is encouraged to observe the Lyrids and send in the reports of what they saw. You can also share your data by tweeting your postcode, your country (click here to find your country code) and, optionally, the meteor count along with the hashtag; #MeteorWatch (you are welcome to use GAM hastags as well – #GAM2012 #LyridsWatch)
The meteor data will appear in a map at MeteorWatch.org. This is an excellent way to get more immersed and socialize during your observations.
For Philippine observers located near Quezon City, the University of the Philippines Astronomical Society (UP AstroSoc) invites you to its Lyrids observation on April 21-22, 9PM-6AM at the PAGASA Astronomical Observatory Sundeck (located within the UP Diliman Campus).
The event is for free and open to all, so feel free to bring along with you your friends and family.
For more information, please visit UP Astrosoc’s Facebook fanpage.
Meteor showers can be a lot of fun, so I hope you see some good ones this coming weekend! Clear skies!
In celebration of the National Astronomy Week (NAW) 2012, the University of the Philippines Astronomical Society (UP AstroSoc) in partnership with the Philippine Society of Youth Science Clubs (PSYSC) invites everyone to a public observation of the celestial grouping of the Moon, Venus and Jupiter on February 26, 2012.
The said event will be at the Sun Deck of the PAGASA Astronomical Observatory in UP Diliman.
Define closeness; see the thin lunar crescent pass close to Venus and Jupiter on the eve of February 26. Observation starts at around 6PM or later. 🙂
Messier marathon begins at 9 PM. Messier objects were discovered in the 18th century. These were listed so that observers using small telescopes would not confuse these with comets
SEE YOU THERE!
To join the event, please visit its Facebook event page : https://www.facebook.com/events/148142481972887/
Clear skies! 🙂
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Sidereal Times – the official publication of the UP Astronomical Society – is now available online! 🙂
Now, anyone can get the latest information on the upcoming activities of UP Astrosoc and learn more about the latest news and updates in the wonderful field of astronomy by visiting this site.
Helpful tips and trivia for amateur astronomers were also being posted to the site by members.
The External Affairs Committee of the org (to which I once belonged) is the one in-charge of this publication.
As its former editor-in-chief, I was really glad that a site was finally launched for it and that the publication can now be accessed by more readers.
Congratulations to UP Astrosoc on this success! 🙂 Ad astra per aspera!
UP Astronomical Society is now open for applications!
Visit our booth along AS Walk on Dec 6-9.
Apps’ Orientation will be on December 9, 2011 (Friday) 6pm at the PAGASA Observatory Moon Deck near CHE.
You can also sign-up online at https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?hl=en_US&formkey=dC05c1NfdWJpTVM4ajdXSlQ4RmI5QkE6MA#gid=1
For inquiries, contact Andro at 09162309138.
See you! Ad Astra Per Aspera!
Last October 21, 2011, I attended the International Astronomical Union (IAU) Formal Gala Dinner at the Science Discovery Center in SM Mall of Asia, Pasay City.
Fellow members from my org, UP Astronomical Society; professors and students from different universities namely UPLB, RTU, and DLSU; astronomy educators, and amateur astronomers were also attendees of this gathering.
The event’s theme was ‘Astronomy for Development’. It aimed to educate and promote awareness of Astronomy among Filipinos. It was also to inform the people about the importance of astronomy and to let them know the latest development and innovation in the field.
Speakers were Dr. Rogel Mari Sese, Head of Astrophysics Lab in the Institute of Mathematical Sciences and Physics, UPLB; and Dr. Kevin Govender, the current Director of the IAU Office of Astronomy for Development.
Before proceeding with the talks, a short planetarium show entitled “New Horizons” was played to entertain the audience. It was an all-dome-video experience that features a majestic journey through our celestial neighborhood.
Dr. Sese was the first one to deliver a talk. He discussed several key ideas in pursuing Astronomy as a profession particularly in the Philippines. He further explained that having a career in astronomy is challenging and highlighted a few important points on what in takes to be an astronomer. These, according to him are the following:
- Passion – main motivation for one to learn
- Plan – [Because] the learning journey is long
- Perseverance – main motivation for one to finish
He finished his talk my leaving this inspiring message: “Be passionate and patient. It’s all worth it in the end.”
“Astronomy stretches our imagination.”“Science is about exploring God’s universe.”“Astronomy for a better world.”
A short open forum was eventually held after the talks to allow questions from the audience. A lot of curious questions about astrophysics have been asked by several students until after the formal dinner.
All in all, the event was truly a great and memorable experience.
I’m glad that IAU is still taking its commitment in expanding astronomy development programs in areas where astronomy is still an emerging and minor field (such as in the Southeast Asian (SEA) region), even after the successful International Year of Astronomy (IYA 2009) was over. At the same time, I’m also proud that the Philippines is already taking part in holding activities such as this which enable young astronomers and students in particular, to further develop their interest in the field.
I hope that there would be more scientific collaborations such as this one, in the near future that could stimulate the rapid growth of science among developing societies.
Ad astra per aspera!
Despite the 50% chance of a thunderstorm and a full moon, I and my UP AstroSoc friends braved our way to Bataan last August to observe this year’s Perseid Meteor Shower during its peak event.
We stayed at Stella Maris Beach Resort in Bagac to observe overnight.
The sky was totally overcast when we came. Nevertheless, we were fortunate that the Full Moon was already low in the west when the eastern sky cleared up around 3:00 to 5:00 AM just in time for the Perseids.
We were able to spot a few fireballs zooming across the region near Perseus and around the Winter Hexagon. The highest meteor count that we had was 23.
We also got to observe Jupiter (with its Galilean Moons!) and the planet Mars though a friend’s Dobsonian telescope which we fondly call Lulin.
Here are some images of Jupiter taken through afocal method:
We finished our Perseid viewing at dawn and left the place a couple of hours after to tour around Bataan. Some of the places we visited were the Bagac Friendship Tower, Dunsulan Falls in Pilar, and the Dambana ng Kagitingan (Shrine of Valor) at the summit of Mt. Samat.
Mount Samat was the site of the most vicious battle against the Japanese Imperial Army in 1942 during the Battle of Bataan. The shrine there was built as a symbol of courage and gallantry to all Filipino soldiers who shed their blood in defending our beloved country to foreign invaders. I felt honored to have been able to visit this place and pay respect to my fellow Filipinos who died during the war.
Going at the top of Mount Samat was the best experience ever! It felt like I can almost touch the clouds with my two bare hands when I was up there. I also love the cool gentle breeze and the nice view (you can see the whole town of Bataan and the Manila Bay from there). My friends and I were very excited as we climbed up the stairs going up the cross. It was a bit tiring though.
Overall, I consider this trip as one of the most memorable trips I ever had. 🙂 Aside from successfully catching the Perseids despite of the bad weather, we were also blessed with a great opportunity to visit some of the historical places in the country and experience nature at its finest. It was truly a sweet escape!
Thanks to Elaine, Kiel, Bea, Josh, Saeed, Ron and Pinyong for being with me in this endeavor. 🙂
*All images above courtesy of Bea Banzuela
SPACE definitely matters.
UP ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY will introduce you to a space beyond your imagination.
COME JOIN UP AstroSoc on its platinum year and experience a night life in wonderland. 😀
Visit the UP AstroSoc Application booth at the AS Walk (UP Diliman) from July 12-15, 2011.
Applicants’ orientation is on July 15, 2011 – 6pm
Venue: Moon Deck, PAGASA Observatory (near College of Home Economics)
For inquiries, contact Andro 09159739014 or Lei 09279748655
Ad astra per aspera!
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
Anticrepuscular rays are similar to crepuscular rays, but seen opposite the sun in the sky during sunrise or sunset.
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!
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 University of the Philippines Astronomical Society (UP AstroSoc) invites everyone in observing the spectacular total lunar eclipse on June 15 – 16!
After the moon got super huge last March 2011, this coming June 16 2011, the moon will once again be spectacular to watch as it turns red because of the total lunar eclipse.
The first of the two eclipses of 2011 will occur on the said date and it will start at around 1:25AM and will end at around 7AM but the fun part where it turns red will be on its totality at around 4AM.
What is more special about this eclipse is that this will be the darkest lunar eclipse in almost 100 years as the centers of the sun, the earth and the moon would nearly be on one straight line. This also means that the Moon will pass deeply through the Earth’s Umbral Shadow which will make the totality phase last about 100 minutes.
This event is open to all. Come and invite your family and friends, and witness this wonderful sky show.
Clear skies, everyone!
Last April, I was invited along with some fellow UP AstroSoc members to join the 2011 Philippine Messier Marathon organized by the Astronomical League of the Philippines (ALP). The event was held on the shore of Lake Caliraya at the Eco Saddle Campsite in Laguna.
It was a really nice opportunity for an amateur astronomer like me to be part of an event like this – a trip away from the light polluted city to observe in perfectly dark skies. However, I found it hard to decide whether or not to join the observation because I was also supposed to attend the General Assembly of Student Councils (GASC) in Davao City. My heart was torn between my obligation and mission as a student leader and my love for the heavens.
Fortunately, the circumstances changed just in time for me to be able to join in the overnight observation.
I would finally see the Milky Way for the first time in all its grandeur.
And I DID! 🙂
I was lucky to have with me a borrowed DSLR camera to capture images of the mesmerizing dark skies above Lake Caliraya. From the northern hemisphere, the best views of the Milky Way are in the summer -with the brightest parts in the southern sky.
It was a very cold and windy night by the lake. Dew kept forming on my laptop, and every gust of wind threatened to topple my camera and tripod. Nevertheless, I stayed in the cold to take images. Such is the life of an amateur astronomer but it is always worth the effort. 🙂
Since I cannot take a single picture showing the expanse of the Milky Way, what I did was I took several shots of it and stitched those images together in Photoshop to produce a wide field photo.
I must admit that I still lack the skill in doing long-exposure photography. It was my first time to do that, haha. Every image that I took was a product of trial-and-error attempts, but thanks to the incredibly dark skies of Caliraya, my fellow orgmate’s useful tips, and the opportunity that God gave me, that I was able to produce my first images of our home galaxy. 🙂
I probably have to practice more on astrophotography and read tutorials to prepare for the next opportunity of taking pictures of the Milky Way. Hopefully, I could have my own DSLR camera (plus some real decent astro equipment) by that time. *I still have to save a lot of money for this.* 😛
Ad astra per aspera!
The UP Astronomical Society (UP AstroSoc) are raising funds for its upcoming projects.
You can help the organization by supporting its Astro Shirt Sale. 🙂
For only 150php, you can already have a cool astro shirt just like the ones below.
You may choose from these 3 different designs. There several shirt sizes available.
To place your order, please contact the numbers indicated in the publicity poster, or visit UP AstroSoc’s Facebook Fanpage.
To the stars! 🙂
*Shirts are available in the Philippines
April’s Moon reached its full phase last April18 at 10:45 AM PST (2:45 AM UT).
During Palm Sunday in the Philippines last April 17, 2011, I and some friends spotted the 99.5% full Moon rising at dusk. It looked like a big ball of cheese hanging up in the sky along a street named Galaxy Street in Panorama, Marikina City.
It seemed larger near the horizon during moonrise than it does while higher up in the sky.
According to EarthSky.org, this is the first full moon of springtime for the northern hemisphere. We in this hemisphere call it the Pink Moon, to celebrate the return of certain wild flowers. Other names are Egg Moon, Sprouting Grass Moon, or Easter Moon.
The first Full Moon of spring is also usually designated as the Paschal Full Moon or the Paschal Term. In most years, the Christian celebration of Easter is observed on the Sunday after the Paschal Full Moon. If the Paschal Moon occurs on a Sunday, Easter is the following Sunday.
For those living in the Southern Hemisphere, the autumn counterpart of the Paschal Full Moon is called Harvest Moon, the closest full moon to the autumnal equinox.
What sets the Harvest Moon apart from the others is that instead of rising at its normal average of 50 minutes later each day, it seems to rise at nearly the same time for several nights.
However, in direct contrast to the Harvest Full Moon, the Paschal Full Moon appears to rise considerably later each night.
Here are the other photos taken by me and two of my fellow UP AstroSoc folks, Andre Obidos and Bea Banzuela.
*First 2 photos — Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS7 10.1 MP Digital Camera
*Wide angle photos — Canon PowerShot SX20 IS
All images can be clicked to see high-res versions.
Last March 17, 2011 , the University of the Philippines Astronomical Society (UP AstroSoc) set up at the PAGASA Astronomical Observatory in UP Diliman to observe the occultation of the 3.3 magnitude star, Omicron Leonis (or Subra) by the 92% illuminated waxing gibbous Moon.
This event was headed by UP AstroSoc associate member and alumni, Anthony Urbano of EtenyWorks. Kuya Eteny, as the members fondly call him, was experienced in observing occultations.
During this observation, he brought his 6″ Newtonian Equatorial Reflecting Telescope (NERT) with a self-designed home-built clock drive attached to the telescope’s equatorial mount. To record the occultation event, a Canon S3IS connected to a laptop was mounted to the telescope’s eyepiece by means of a fabricated camera adapter. This modified camera can show it’s system time on its on-screen display. According to Kuya Eteny, the default precision of the on-screen timer is limited to 1 second, but a patch, currently made available only for Canon S3IS, increased the clock’s precision to 1/100 of a second — the maximum precision of the camera’s built-in clock.
You can learn more about this improvised clock drive project, the camera modification and the rest of observation set up by visiting his site where he posts a lot of cool stuff about observation and instrumentation. His inventions are most fit for those amateur astronomers interested in modifying their own telescopes and cameras especially for the purpose of doing astrophotography. 🙂
The event was from 10:20 UT (ingress) and ended at 11:10 UT (egress). Although it can be classified as a ‘bright star occultation’, the light coming from the target star wasn’t bright enough to pass through the thick clouds during the entire event. By around 11:50 UT, we decided to packed up since there was still no trace of the star near the Moon.
When the Moon passes in front of a background star during occultations, the shadow of the Moon cast by the star sweeps across the Earth. When the leading or trailing edge of the Moon’s shadow crosses an observer, the observer sees the star “disappear” or “reappear”. These events are usually very sudden, and timing the instant of occultation is an important astronomical measurement.
But why is it important to observe lunar occultations?
- Observing lunar occultations is important because the results improve our knowledge of the position and motion of the Moon. For example, when you time the disappearance of a star behind the edge of the Moon to 0.1 second accuracy (a value easily attainable), you are actually fixing the position of the Moon’s edge in space to an accuracy of about 80 metres. i.e. you are making a measurement with a precision of only 80 metres over a distance of 384,400 km. (This is one of the most accurate measurements an amateur observer can make in any branch of science!)
- Combining many such measurements of the Moon’s position over a long time gives astronomers new information about the Moon’s motion and orbit. For example, total occultation observations have shown that the Moon is spiralling away from the Earth at a rate of a few centimetres per year.
- Total lunar occultations have also been used to provide valuable information about star positions, about the hills and valleys on the edge of the Moon, and to discover new double stars.
Aside from occultations by the Moon, there were also Planetary Occultations and Asteroid Occultations. Just as the Moon passes in front of background stars, so too do planets and minor planets (also called asteroids).
Planetary occultations are occultations of stars by the passing of a planet in front of it. However planetary occultations occur less frequently than lunar occultations because the planets appear so much smaller in our sky than does the Moon. Nevertheless, observing occultations of stars by planets has yielded some stunning discoveries – for example, the rings of Uranus, and the atmosphere around Pluto.
On the other hand, Asteroid Occultations are occultations of stars by the passing of an asteroid in front of it. Asteroid occultations can occur anywhere on the surface of the earth. A few naked eye stars have been occulted during the past 20 years, but most occultations are of quite dim stars typically between magnitudes +9 and +12. An occultation might occur at any time of night, on any day of the week. More and more fainter asteroid occultations are being predicted, so that it is likely that at least 5 events will likely cross your area in the coming year.
While occultations of bright stars by major planets are very rare, occultations by asteroids are a little less so. This is not because any one asteroid has a greater chance of passing in front of a star. Rather, it is because there are so many more asteroids to choose from!
Anyway, asteroid occultations are the only way — apart from spacecraft missions to asteroids and radar observations of nearby objects — to determine the approximate size and shape of those bodies and are, of course, much cheaper.
If, as an amateur astronomer or telescope owner, you would like to be part of history, contribute something relevant to the study of astronomy, or would love to see sights that few have witnessed, then occultations are the thing for you. The occultation process offers discovery and research. It is possible for amateur astronomers to discover new companions of stars, help to improve the polar diameter of the sun and moon, identify the existence of possible satellites orbiting asteroids, to improve knowledge of heights of lunar mountain peaks and depths of valleys in the polar regions, determine corrections to ephemeris errors and assess star position errors, improve knowledge of the shape and sizes of asteroids, and more through occultation science. It does not matter where you live in the world. If you have access to a computer and possess a telescope of at least 4-6 inches, know your geodetic position either from GPS or a good topographic map, have a source of time signals and tape recorder, you can make your own observations of these rare and critical events.
The IOTA web site contains predictions that are updated frequently.
To be able to observe and correctly record an occultation event, you should first have knowledge to find your way about the sky. Most stars that are occulted by asteroids have average apparent visual magnitude of 10.
The program Win-OCCULT, authored by David Herald in Australia, provides accurate predictions of all types of occultations and related phenomena. You can obtain a copy of Win-OCCULT by downloading it from here.
Good luck! 🙂
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! 🙂
* * * * * *
Photos by Julee Ann Olave and Ana Geronimo of UP AstroSoc
This image was taken during UP Astronomical Society‘s free public viewing of the largest full moon at the UP Diliman Sunken Garden.
Thanks to Kuya Anthony Urbano of EtenyWorks for letting us take pictures through his 6″ NERT!
The Moon was ~14% brighter and bigger at the time of this event. Thin clouds blanketed the lunar disk during this night but we were still lucky to catch a glimpse of this celestial beauty.We even saw a 22 degree halo and a colorful lunar corona circling the Moon at the same time.
Saturn was also there within the halo and there were contrails, too left by a passing aircraft.
Thanks to everyone who dropped by. ‘Til next time 🙂 Ad astra per aspera!
“The sky is the ultimate art gallery just above us.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
[Some photos were grabbed from Nico Mendoza and Julee Olave 🙂 Used with their permissions]
In the Philippines, Full Moon will occur at 2:10 AM (PHT) on March 20, 2011.
On March 19th, the moon will be closer to Earth than it’s been since 1992. This day marks this year’s lunar perigee, the point in the moon’s orbit at which it is closest to Earth. The full moon that night will appear about 14 percent larger and significantly brighter than usual, but despite the brightness, the supermoon has a dark side. Supermoons have been linked to massive natural disasters in the past, from earthquakes to floods–but that connection is typically touted by astrologists. Astronomers and scientists, with typical drollness, say a catastrophe is unlikely.
It’s the moon’s elliptical orbit that’s responsible for the differences in distance between the moon and Earth (the opposite, the point at which the moon is farthest from the Earth, is called the lunar apogee).
Clear skies to all! 🙂
As part of the celebration of the 18th National Astronomy Week in the Philippines this 2011, the University of the Philippines Astronomical Society (UP AstroSoc) will be holding a series of activities on February 23, 25 and 27.
*February 23, 2011 : “Solar Observation and Rocket Launching (water-propelled rockets)”
Time: 3:00 pM to 6: 00 PM
Venue: UP Diliman Sunken Garden
*February 25, 2011 : “Sidewalk Astronomy — Stargazing Activity and Free Telescope Viewing”
Time: 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Venue: Quezon City Memorial Circle (near the Quezon Memorial Shrine)
*February 25, 2011 : “Sidewalk Astronomy — Stargazing Activity and Free Telescope Viewing”
Time: 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Venue: Rizal Park in Manila
Note: All these events are open to everyone. 😀 Feel free to drop by.
For more inquiries, please text Aaron at +639177620297 or send an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You could also visit UP AstroSoc’s Facebook Fanpage for updates regarding changes in the venue and the time of the events.
Ad astra per aspera!
Last 13 January 2011, an International Space Station (ISS) Solar Transit event visible in some parts of Metro Manila occurred at around 8:30 am PHT (Philippine Time). The relative rarity of ISS Solar and Lunar Transits here in the Philippines plus the fact that I were fortunate enough to be very near the path of visibility of this transit inspired me a lot not to miss this event.
Along with my UP AstroSoc orgmates and some fellow amateur astronomers from RTU AstroSoc and from the Philippine Astronomical Society (PAS), we set up our equipment to observe this passage of the ISS in front of the Sun’s disk at the Manila Observatory in Quezon City, Philippines.
I already have some experience in observing solar eclipses but this was my first time to try timing and capturing a solar transit. Unlike eclipses, ISS transits are more challenging to observe because they happen too fast. To give you an idea of how fast these events occur, here is a video clip which I got from Youtube showing the ISS transiting in front of the Sun’s disk. It was captured by students of the Westfalenkolleg Dortmund on August 7, 2010 at 17:31 pm.
The transit above lasted for 1.06 seconds. The one we were to observe will have a duration of about 0.91 seconds — too swift to be captured using cameras so we opted to record a video of it instead.
Following are the transit details including the timings. The data was obtained by our UP AstroSoc orgmate and team leader, Anthony Urbano from www.calsky.com. All times are in PST (Philippine Standard Time) or UT+8.
Distance from center-line: 1.06km
Path Width: 13.6km maximum
Time of Ingress: 8h30m40.6s
Time of Egress: 8h30m41.6s
Transit Duration: 0.91s
Separation Angle: 0.037°
Position Angle: 121.2°
Satellite at Azimuth: 123.6° ESE at culmination
Satellite at Altitude: 26.4° at culmination
Angular Diameter: 25.6″
Angular Velocity: 35.2’/s
Ground Velocity: 7,457m/s
Size: 73.0m X 44.5m X 27.5mSatellite Distance: 723.6km
In clock-face concept, the space station will appear to move toward: 8:58
And by the way, Anthony Urbano or Kuya Eteny, as we fondly call him, is a gadget master. 😀 He has invented a lot of devices like a universal camera adapter that allows any point-and-shoot camera (and even SLRs) to be attached to any optical system (binoculars, telescope, microscope, etc.). He even brought one of his camera adapters during this observation to attach the video camera to his 6″ Newtonian Reflector Telescope. Moreover, he has also modified some gadgets like DSLRs to be more useful in astronomical observations and astrophotography. This guy is truly remarkable for possessing such great talent! 🙂
An hour before the ingress, the sky around our location was partly covered in clouds. The sky condition got even worse as the predicted time approached. We waited for several more minutes, just in case the clouds clear up and the actual time of transit is later than predicted. In the end, we didn’t see any trace of the ISS due to thick cloud cover. We packed up and left at around 9:30 am.
Though we were not able to accomplish our goal of recording this transit event, the experience is always worth it. 😀 Thanks to Kuya Eteny for informing us about this event and inviting us to observe with him.
I’m looking forward to more transit and solar observations. 🙂
*Photos by Bea Banzuela
Update: Another group of fellow Filipino amateur astronomers from the Astronomical League of the Philippines (ALP) were lucky enough to observe and take images of the ISS transiting the Sun. Their observation report and images can be found here.
Despite the 50% predicted cloud cover and significantly large uncertainty in the precise time of the peak, I and some of my orgmates in UP AstroSoc tried our luck in observing the first meteor shower of the year during the night of January 3 until the dawn of January 4, 2011. According to British meteor astronomer Alastair McBeath, the narrow peak of this shower is predicted to occur some time between 2100 UT on 3 January (5AM on January 4) and 0600 (UT) on 4 January 2011 (2PM on January 4), however the radiant of the shower is very low in the evening hours, and will rise higher towards dawn so the best time to view this event in the Philippines was during the predawn hours of January 4.
This was my first time to observe the Quadrantid Meteor Shower. Unlike the other popular annual meteor showers like the Perseids, Leonids and the Geminids, this shower is expected to be less spectacular due to lower activity and unfavorable position of the radiant to a country near the equator like the Philippines. Nevertheless, the moonless night during January 4 and 5 enticed me to give it a chance.
We chose to observe in Marikina City, at a friend’s house which has a roof deck. From there, we had a fine view of the north and eastern sky wherein most of the Quadrantids are expected to pass.
The radiant of the meteor shower which is found a little below the Big Dipper and beside the constellation Bootes, was set to rise at around 1AM of January 4. While waiting, we spent the time preparing our simple reclining chairs and sleeping bag which we intend to use as a mat where we could lie down. We also set up our organization’s 4.5″ Meade Reflector — which we fondly called Datascope — to look for deep sky objects. We pointed it first at the famous stellar sisters, the Pleaides or M45, in Taurus. We enjoyed stargazing and constellation-hopping because the sky was fairly clear then.
At around 1:30 AM, I saw my first Quadrantid. 😀 It was a short and swift one having a thin trail and a pale bluish big head, typical of a Quadrantid meteor. It passed between the pointer stars, Dubhe and Merak in Ursa Major. It was an amazing scene!
After about 30 minutes, patches of clouds began to block our view. We decided to pause our observation for a while to pick up a friend who would join us.
We continued on our observation with a less cloudy sky (around 40% cloud cover) by 3:20 AM during which we saw another Quadrantid passing near Corona Borealis. Another one zoomed past by the Bootes at 4 AM.
At 5 AM (21:oo UT), during the time of the peak we saw more meteors flying across the northeast in between cloud gaps of the 50-60 % clouded sky. In my previous post, I calculated for the number of meteors that could be seen given the 50% cloud cover and 4.0 limiting magnitude using the formula given by IMO. The actual meteor count we got during the peak is 6, which was relatively comparable to the 8 meteors per hour which I had calculated. 🙂
By 5:40 AM, we also saw one artificial satellite flying from the northwest. During this time, Venus and Mercury were already shining high in the east though they seemed to disappear from time to time as clouds pass in front of them. We also took sometime to capture a few bright constellations like my favorite, Crux in the south.
We ended our observation at past 6:00 AM when the Sun started to climb up in the east. A beautiful sunrise greeted us as we finished our observation and ate our breakfast — McChicken Fillet Meal from McDonalds — courtesy of our friend Saeed, who had his birthday during that observation.
The following night two of my fellow UP AstroSoc friends — Bea and Aaron — went to Seven Suites Hotel Observatory in Antipolo City, accompanied by some of our UP AstroSoc associates, to observe the Quadrantids from there. The sky there offers a more favorable viewing condition because it was farther from the light-polluted city. They were even lucky to have less cloudy sky during that night. 🙂
Below are some of the pictures taken during their observation at the Seven Suites Hotel Observtaory. All images are by Bea Banzuela.
I never expected that this event would turn out to be another memorable and fun observation. 🙂 Thank you, UP Astrosoc!
To all those who were able to say hello to this year’s Quadrantids, congratulations and good luck on your observation of the next meteor shower. 😀