Monday, March 11, 2019

International Dark Sky Week 2019

"The Darkest Nights produce the Brightest Stars"
-John Green



On March 31-April 7 we will be celebrating the International Dark Sky Week 2019 as part of the Global Astronomy Month Celebration. We are encouraging everyone to organize in activities that will promote awareness for the value of dark skies.

Some activities you can do:
Participate in the global citizen-science campaign Globe at Night.

Organize a viewing of videos like "Losing the Dark"

Monday, February 11, 2019

Women and Girls in Philippine Astronomy



In line with the celebration of the United Nations' International Day of Women and Girls, the IAU100 celebrates the Women and Girls in Astronomy. I intended to make a different kind of blog post for today however was not able to find the time to do so. Instead, here is a listing of some of the notable women and girls of the Philippine astronomy community.

Kristine Jane Atienza
Former overall coordinator of the UP Astronomical Society. She is one of the collaborative individuals in the astronomy community working together with different groups and institutions. She is also a founder of the Philippine Union of Student Organizations for Astronomy (PUSO for Astro), and a core member of the Manila Street Astronomers. Kristine also actively takes part in international astronomy conferences and meetings such as those of SEAAN and SGAC. She also spearheaded various projects such as the donation of telescopes to be given to aspiring astronomy groups in the country. Among her current projects is the development of a mobile planetarium for the visually impaired under the IAU Office for Astronomy Development, and the UNAWE Traveling Telescope.


Bernadette Joy Detera
An emerging youth space leader. She is an active member of the Space Generation Advisory Council (be it as a delegate, moderator, or event co-manager), and also the country's current National Point of Contact to SGAC. Bernadette is the former overall coordinator of the UP Astronomical Society, and a volunteer at the Manila Street Astronomers. During her term in UP AstroSoc she was one of the leading students who pushed for the official launching of the PUSO for Astro. She continues to actively support the union even after her term.



Marielle Eduardo
An aspiring astrophysicists. During her undergraduate years in Physics at UP Baguio Marielle has been also active in the astronomy scene. She spent her internship at the PAGASA Observatory looking into variable stars and sunspots. She also participated in several international schools learning more about astronomy and conducting research.


Andreia Carrillo
Currently working for her doctorate at the University of Texas. A PSHS graduate who pursued astronomy and astrophysics at the University of Michigan. She also spent an internship in her first year at the Solar Observation Program of RTU-DESS. She is also organizing web lectures/training in the Filipino Astronomy Group along with Jerome de Leon.


Dr. Reinabelle Reyes
Known as the “Filipina Who Proved Einstein Right” for her work with supermassive blackholes. Dr. Reina is the country's celebrity astrophysicist. Since her return to the Philippines after her post-doc she has been actively giving lectures, handling classes,  working as a data-scientist, and also hosting a science show on TV.


Dr. Jelly Grace Nonesa
Filipina astophysicist who worked on X-ray astronomy and dark matter profiles. She is currently an assistant professor at the University of Southern Mindanao.



Imelda Joson
A pioneering figure in Philippine astronomy, together with Edwin Aguirre. They proposed and drafted the executive proclamation for the National Astronomy Week. Imelda Joson has several contributions to local and international groups, which led them to being the first Filipinos to have an asteroid designated after them (6282 Edwelda).



Johanna Erika Valdueza
Geologist with the passion for the stars. Erika is an amateur astronomer and astro-blogger. Despite physical ailment and a lack of support and local opportunities for her research she pursued her masters thesis on a planetary geology topic. She is an alumnus of the UP Astronomical Society, a member of Manila Street Astronomers, Astronomical League of the Philippines, and Philippine Astronomical Society. She also attends various international trainings and conferences in astronomy



Maria Sobina Yu
One of the active high-school students in the local astronomy scene. She is the founder of the Judenite's Astronomical Organization. She is a member of the Astronomical League of the Philippines, Philippine Astronomical Society, and participate in various astronomy projects like the asteroid search campaign, or the Astronomy Translation Network. Sobina is also an astro-blogger.



Ashley Claire Batuigas
This 18-year old student from the University of San Carlos brought to the Philippines India's Society for Space Education Research and Development (SSERD). She is the current head of SSERD Philippines and organized the first Space Camp in Cebu.

Friday, January 18, 2019

National Astronomy Week 2019


26th National Astronomy Week
Feb 17 - 23

Theme: 1sang Siglo: sa Ilalim ng 1sang Kalangitan

Updated: Feb 13 18:08
Pre-NAW Activities
10
Solar Observation
Organizers:RTU AstroSoc
Location: Rainforest Rave Park
11
TALA Outreach
Organizers:RTU AstroSoc

Mobile Planetarium Show & Night Sky Observation
Organizers:RTU AstroSoc
Location: RTU Quadrangle
12
13
Star Trails
(Deadline of Submissions)
Organizers: UP AstroSoc

Ultimate Astronomical Quiz Bowl
Organizers: MSU-IIT CED
Location: CED Amphitheatre
14
15
Mobile Planetarium Show & contests
Organizers:RTU DESS
Location: RTU
16
Philippine Telescope Hour
Organizers: MSA
Venue: Nationwide


PAS Opening Ceremonies
Venue: Aboitiz Hall, San Beda University
Organizers: BSYA & PAS


RTU DESS Division Day
Organizers: RTU DESS
(Tentative)
Official NAW Activities
17
Free Public Viewing
Venue: SMBY, MOA
Organizers: ALP

Free Planetarium Show
Organizers: PAGASA
Location: PAGASA Science Garden

Free Stargazing
Organizers: PAGASA
Location: PAGASA Observatory
18

Free Planetarium Show
Organizers: PAGASA
Location: PAGASA Science Garden

Free Stargazing
Organizers: PAGASA
Location: PAGASA Observatory
19
Exhibit
Venue: NIP, UP Diliman
Organizers: UP AstroSoc

Free Planetarium Show
Organizers: PAGASA
Location: PAGASA Science Garden

Free Stargazing
Organizers: PAGASA
Location: PAGASA Observatory
20
Exhibit
Venue: NIP, UP Diliman
Organizers: UP AstroSoc

Free Planetarium Show
Organizers: PAGASA
Location: PAGASA Science Garden

Free Stargazing
Organizers: PAGASA
Location: PAGASA Observatory
21
Exhibit
Venue: NIP, UP Diliman
Organizers: UP AstroSoc


Research Gala
Venue: RTU
Organizers: RTU DESS

Free Planetarium Show
Organizers: PAGASA
Location: PAGASA Science Garden

Free Stargazing
Organizers: PAGASA
Location: PAGASA Observatory

Free Mobile Planetarium shows
Organizers: PAGASA
Location: Iloilo City
22
Exhibit
Venue: NIP, UP Diliman
Organizers: UP AstroSoc


Research Gala
Venue: RTU
Organizers: RTU DESS

Free Planetarium Show
Organizers: PAGASA
Location: PAGASA Science Garden

Free Stargazing
Organizers: PAGASA
Location: PAGASA Observatory

Free Mobile Planetarium shows
Organizers: PAGASA
Location: Iloilo City

Star Party Contest
Organizers: PAGASA
Location: Iloilo City
23
Free Public Viewing
Venue: SMBY, MOA
Organizers: ALP

Earth and Outer Space Symposium
Venue: Aboitiz Hall, San Beda University
Organizers: BSYA & PAS

UP AstroSoc Culminating Activities
Venue: NIP, UP Diliman
Organizers: UP AstroSoc


Research Gala
Venue: RTU
Organizers: RTU DESS

Free Planetarium Show
Organizers: PAGASA
Location: PAGASA Science Garden

Free Stargazing
Organizers: PAGASA
Location: PAGASA Observatory
Post-NAW Activities
24
Astronomy Convention
Venue: NIP, UP Diliman
Organizers: UP AstroSoc
25
26
27
Astronomy Night
Venue: UST
Organizers: UST APSoc, MSA, PUSO
28


Sunday, January 6, 2019

On Eclipse Visibility

The year 2019 brings us 5 eclipses which is something people are excited about. However, not all of these are visible in the Philippines. Geographical differences affect our view in the sense that at the moment an eclipse takes place in one side of the globe, the other side of the globe does not see it. Of the 5 eclipses, only two are visible from the Philippines (with one needing a geographical advantage in the South).

Jan 6 Partial Solar Eclipse (Not visible in the Philippines)
Jan 20 Total Lunar Eclipse (Not visible in the Philippines)
July 2 Solar Eclipse (Not visible in the Philippines)
July 17 Lunar Eclipse (Eclipse at Moonset, part of eclipse not visible)
Dec 26 Annular Solar Eclipse (Partial for most of the Philippines, annular from the Southernmost tip of Mindanao)

Eclipses happen when an object of roughly the same apparent size covers the other object. In the case of a solar eclipse the configuration is Sun-Moon-Earth, and for lunar it is Sun-Earth-Moon.

The duration and area covered by an eclipse is dependent on how big the shadow is cast by the eclipsing object. For a lunar eclipse the Earth's shadow is cast on the Moon and since the Earth is much bigger it casts a larger shadow. Any area where the umbral shadow is cast when the Moon passes will see a total lunar eclipse. Now note that the Moon's orbit is tilted with respect to the Sun-Earth plane, therefore the angle in which the Moon passes behind the Earth varies. A lunar eclipse lasts longer when the Moon passes as close to the center of the shadow as possible.

The July 17 Lunar eclipse is partly visible from our reference. From our geographical location on the globe (that's right flat-earther's) the Earth will be rotating us away from the eclipse during the 'Blood Moon' phase. Meaning the Philippines will move or rather rotate to the Sun facing side of the Earth as the rest of the eclipse takes place in view from other geographical locations. From our view it can be seen as an eclipse during Moonset.



In the case of a solar eclipse it is the Moon casting a shadow on the Earth. Now since the Moon is smaller it casts a smaller shadow making the eclipsed area smaller. As a result the geographic location experiencing a solar eclipse is very limited. As you can see in the picture on the right (Image by NASA DSCOVR EPiC Team) the shadow of the Moon only covers a certain region. Since the shadow is relatively small a solar eclipse will only last for a short time.

In the case of the December 2019 Annular Solar Eclipse the image below (Fred Espenak|NASA GSFC) shows the eclipse path and regions of the globe they are visible in. The red band is where the center of the Moon's shadow passes where the eclipse will be seen as an "annulus" or ring. Note that when an annular eclipse happens it means that the Moon is further from the Earth on its orbit, which in turn results to an even smaller shadow. For observers in the Philippines the amount in which the Sun is eclipsed will vary depending on how close you are to the shadow. Observers in Luzon will see less of an eclipse as compared to observers in Mindanao.

Before making the Balut island simulation I ran it for Gen San. Even from Gen San it doesn't appear as an annulus.


Note: I accidentally edited the original post while updating the 2019 NAW calendar. I have tried to redo the general content as how I remember it.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Three Astronomy Facebook Groups worth Visiting


Facebook is perhaps the most popular social media tool right now. It is a platform that supports many kinds of media and frameworks that enrich the social interaction in the digital scene. One of the popular features of Facebook is the Group.

Listed below are three of the best non-partisan astronomy groups:
*Note: Groups only (not pages) that are run by Filipinos


Group Description: "The ultimate source of information on astronomical discussions on astronomical equipment, observations, events, astrophotography, space programs, astrophysics, astro product reviews, etc. Anyone can join regardless of sex, race, astro affiliation, experience and skill level as long as topic on astronomy and its like are discussed and shared."

This originally started as a yahoo group led by members of the Astronomical League of the Philippines which eventually moved on to the popular FB group format. This is a popular FB group for sharing and discussing photos both by local and foreign astrophotographers. It also serves as an avenue for discussing and selling of equipment. At the time of writing there are 1757 members.


Group Description: "This page is intended for Filipino astronomy and space science enthusiasts and professionals. I hope this will bring us closer together by providing a medium for astronomy development for the country. This may be a subset of a larger existing Filipino Astro group but we want to start from a small circle so that members here can easily belong and participate. We will appreciate if you initiate discussions and share your own experiences to motivate others. We will also update you with relevant opportunities locally and abroad."

This group is more academic and technical in nature with posts usually revolving around research and academic practices in astronomy and space science. Popular post topics include the Philippine Microsatellite program, data processing, as well as conferences and workshops. There are occasional astrophotography posts, most of which are quite recent.


Group Description: Post, review, discuss, buy/sell your astronomy equipment here

This is a buy and sell group for astronomy equipment. It is also frequented by those looking for recommendations for their first telescopes. It also contains some astrophotography content.

Friday, February 9, 2018

National Astronomy Week 2018


25th National Astronomy Week
Feb 18 - 24
Astronomy Modernization
A Great Leap for a Collaborative Astronomy Community in the Philippines

Updated: Feb 17 12:05


Pre-NAW Activities
11
Star Trails
(Judging Period)
Organizers: UP AstroSoc
12
Opening Program
Venue: CED Amphi, MSU-IIT
Organizers: CED-IIT


Star Trails
(Judging Period)
Organizers: UP AstroSoc
13
Astro Chats
Venue: RTU
Organizers: RTU AstroSoc


Film Showing
Venue: CED Amphi, MSU-IIT
Organizers: CED-IIT


Stargazing
Venue: USC-TC Soccer Field
Organizers: USC Physics & AstroSoc & IAU Astronomy Society


Star Trails
(Judging Period)
Organizers: UP AstroSoc
14
Astronomy Quiz Bowl
Astronomy Painting Contest
Venue: RTU
Organizers: RTU AstroSoc


Astro Quiz & Games
Venue: CED Amphi, MSU-IIT
Organizers: CED-IIT


Star Trails
(Judging Period)
Organizer: UP AstroSoc
15
Astronomy Research Forum
Venue: RTU
Organizers: RTU AstroSoc


Film Showing
Venue: CED Amphi, MSU-IIT
Organizers: CED-IIT


Star Trails
(Judging Period)
Organizer: UP AstroSoc
16
Star Trails
(Judging Period)
Organizer: UP AstroSoc
17
Awarding Ceremony
Venue:RTU
Organizer: RTU AstroSoc


Our Cosmic Connection
Venue: Abbot Lopez Hall, San Beda University
Organizers: BSYA & PAS


#SciScribe
Venue: Conference Hall, San Beda University
Organizers: BSYA, Science 117, & PAS


Exhibition of Rocket Models
Venue: San Beda University
Organizers: BSYA & PAS

Lecture Series
Venue: CED Amphi, MSU-IIT
Organizers: CED-IIT


Official NAW Activities
18
Official Opening Ceremony
Venue: PAGASA, Science Garden
Organizers: PAGASA


NAW Opening Telescope Viewing Activity
Venue: PAGASA Observatory, UP Diliman
Organizers: PAGASA and all orgs


Free Public Viewing
Venue: SMBY, MOA
Organizer: ALP


Free Planetarium Show
Venue: PAGASA Planetarium, Science Garden
Organizers: PAGASA


Free Telescope Viewing
Venue: PAGASA Observatory, UP Diliman
Organizers: PAGASA


Exhibit & Laser Maze Attraction
Venue: NIP, UP Diliman
Organizers: UP AstroSoc


Exhibition of Rocket Models
Venue: San Beda University
Organizers: BSYA & PAS


Free Planetarium Show
Venue: National Museum Planetarium
Organizers: National Museum Planetarium
19
Stargazing
Venue: Riverbanks, Marikina
Organizers: Philippine Science Centrum


Free Planetarium Show
Venue: PAGASA Planetarium, Science Garden
Organizers: PAGASA


Free Telescope Viewing
Venue: PAGASA Observatory, UP Diliman
Organizers: PAGASA


Exhibit & Laser Maze Attraction
Venue: NIP, UP Diliman
Organizers: UP AstroSoc


Exhibition of Rocket Models
Venue: San Beda University
Organizers: BSYA & PAS
20
Lecture & Seminar Series
Venue: College of Science, UPB Campus
Organizers: UPB AstroSoc


Free Planetarium Show
Venue: PAGASA Planetarium, Science Garden
Organizers: PAGASA


Free Telescope Viewing
Venue: PAGASA Observatory, UP Diliman
Organizers: PAGASA


Exhibit & Laser Maze Attraction
Venue: NIP, UP Diliman
Organizers: UP AstroSoc


Exhibition of Rocket Models
Venue: San Beda University
Organizers: BSYA & PAS


Free Solar Obs
Venue: National Museum Planetarium
Organizers: National Museum Planetarium
21
Stargazing
Venue: Riverbanks, Marikina
Organizers: Philippine Science Centrum


Lecture & Seminar Series
Venue: College of Science, UPB Campus
Organizers: UPB AstroSoc


Free Planetarium Show
Venue: PAGASA Planetarium, Science Garden
Organizers: PAGASA


Free Telescope Viewing
Venue: PAGASA Observatory, UP Diliman
Organizers: PAGASA


Exhibit & Laser Maze Attraction
Venue: NIP, UP Diliman
Organizers: UP AstroSoc


Exhibition of Rocket Models
Venue: San Beda University
Organizers: BSYA & PAS


Free Solar Obs
Venue: National Museum Planetarium
Organizers: National Museum Planetarium
22
Seminar/Workshop on Astronomy for Public Science Teachers
Venue: USTP, CDO
Organizer: DOST PAGASA


Free Mobile Planetarium Show
Venue: USTP, CDO
Organizer: DOST PAGASA


Lecture & Seminar Series
Venue: College of Science, UPB Campus
Organizers: UPB AstroSoc


Free Planetarium Show
Venue: PAGASA Planetarium, Science Garden
Organizers: PAGASA


Free Telescope Viewing
Venue: PAGASA Observatory, UP Diliman
Organizers: PAGASA


Exhibit & Laser Maze Attraction
Venue: NIP, UP Diliman
Organizers: UP AstroSoc


Exhibition of Rocket Models
Venue: San Beda University
Organizers: BSYA & PAS


Free Solar Obs
Venue: National Museum Planetarium
Organizers: National Museum Planetarium
23
Star Party Contest for High School Level
Venue: USTP, CDO
Organizer: DOST PAGASA


3rd BPSU Astronomy Festival

Venue: BPSU Main Campus
Organizer: BPSU AstroSoc


May Alien Ba?
Venue: 4th Floor, First Pacific Hall, Ateneo de Manila University
Organizers: Rizal Library


Free Telescope Viewing
Venue: Pinaglabanan Shrine, San Juan
Organizers: MSA


Culminating Activity
Venue: Philippine Science Centrum
Organizers: Philippine Science Centrum


Free Mobile Planetarium Show
Venue: USTP, CDO
Organizer: DOST PAGASA


Lecture & Seminar Series
Venue: College of Science, UPB Campus
Organizers: UPB AstroSoc


Free Planetarium Show
Venue: PAGASA Planetarium, Science Garden
Organizers: PAGASA


Free Telescope Viewing
Venue: PAGASA Observatory, UP Diliman
Organizers: PAGASA


Exhibit & Laser Maze Attraction
Venue: NIP, UP Diliman
Organizers: UP AstroSoc


Exhibition of Rocket Models
Venue: San Beda University
Organizers: BSYA & PAS


Free Solar Obs
Venue: National Museum Planetarium
Organizers: National Museum Planetarium
24
NAW Official Closing FTV
Venue: Rizal Park, Luneta
Organizers: National Museum Planetarium and all partner orgs


BigBang!,
Take Off,
Parallax,
Star Trails (Awarding Cermony)
Venue: NIP, UP Diliman
Organizer: UP AstroSoc


Public Moon and Sun Viewing
Venue: Peace Plaza, MSU – Marawi City Main Campus
Organizers: MSU-MAC


Competitions

Venue: Abbot Lopez Hall
Organizers: BSYA & PAS


Free Planetarium Show
Venue: PAGASA Planetarium, Science Garden
Organizers: PAGASA


Free Telescope Viewing
Venue: PAGASA Observatory, UP Diliman
Organizers: PAGASA


Exhibit & Laser Maze Attraction
Venue: NIP, UP Diliman
Organizers: UP AstroSoc


Exhibition of Rocket Models
Venue: San Beda University
Organizers: BSYA & PAS


Free Planetarium Show
Venue: National Museum Planetarium
Organizers: National Museum Planetarium
Post-NAW Activities
25
Solar Viewing and Stargazing Session
Venue: SMBY, MOA
Organizers: ALP
26 27 28
Astronomy Night
Venue: UST
Organizers: UST APSoc, MSA, PUSO



Monday, January 15, 2018

Traveling on a Holiday – Astronomy Edition

A typical Christmas holiday for my family involves a lot of traveling. Depending on our mode of transportation I would usually just take my camera along and take some unguided long exposures of the night sky whenever possible. However, since this holiday we had a large enough space for transportation I decided to take my EQ4 mount along with my Celestron C90 for a series of free telescope viewings (FTVs).

Our first destination was my hometown and summer capital of the Philippines – Baguio City. Manila had been cloudy due to the t
ropical storm passing through the Visayas, but clear skies dominated most of the nights here. The high altitude and good transparency of Baguio always made it a pleasure to observe during good weather. I setup my telescope in front of the Quezon Hill Community Church. Carollers and passersby got to view the Moon up-close as well as take photos through their phones. A group of kids stopped by after every round of carols they made. Initially I wanted to get in touch with UP Baguio Astronomical Society to join forces for an FTV here but time constraints and consideration for the students being with their families made me decide to setup on my own.



My next FTV destination was at Agoo, La Union. This is where my grandparents' house was located, and where my grandmother built a dedicated astrodeck for my use. From late in the afternoon until the evening I would take out my telescope to the basketball court of the local barangay (native Filipino term for a village; district or ward) to view the waxing gibbous Moon. The court was filled with people playing basketball and kids and adults watching. The kids were first to gather around the telescope, and little by little players would slip from their game to take a peek until eventually everyone came to see.





The following day we traveled to San Juan, La Union to stay overnight in a resort. Several resorts lined the beach as it was a frequented surfing spot. I took my telescope out on the beach for an FTV. Visitors of the resorts who saw the setup came to take a look and have discussions about astronomy. The resort owner, who happens to have an interest in astronomy and how the ancient Polynesians used the stars to navigate the sky also joined me and welcomed the idea of doing an Astronomy Night event for the resort.
 



When we headed back to Agoo, I was surprised to learn that the children waited for me in the past night to look through the telescope. I did a second setup in the basketball court where a larger group of people got the chance to see the Moon and stars.


For the remainder of my nights in Agoo I stayed in the astrodeck – yes, I pitched my tent there – observing throughout the night and taking short naps when some clouds start to roll in.


After New Year we headed back to Baguio. I didn't get to do anymore FTVs after catching a cold – probably from spending a number of chilly nights in the astrodeck, and hot weather during the day. Being from Baguio, we tried to visit spots that we haven't been to or are not crowded by tourists. One of the places we went to is the Maryknoll Ecological Sanctuary. Why am I adding this to this log? Because of the cosmology/history of Earth inspired nature walk. The hiking trail was entitled Cosmic Journey where they trace the formation of the Universe to the evolution of man.




After the long holiday break it's back to Manila where I return to my laptop and cram my astronomy talk.