Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Orion Nebula through TS 70

Here is an image of the M42 Orion Nebula taken from the Travel Scope 70 with a Nikon D3100. I still have to find a mount with a motor drive so I can do long exposures and avoid the star trails.

 

The Orion Nebula (M42/NGC 1976) is also known as "the Great Nebula." It is a bright magnitude 4 emission nebula that is located in the middle of the hunter's sword (second of the three star looking points below the belt of Orion). The great wings of gas curve away from a glowing mettled core, lit by a quadruplet star system known as the Trapezium (hard to distinguish from the image above). Trapezium, easily seen in telescopes as a trapezoid of four close bright stars, is located at the heart of M42. It is a multiple system of newborn stars - a large collection of young stars and protostars called the Orion association. M42 is accompanied by a smaller detached nebula M43 (NGC 1982) which glows northeast of the nebula.

Here is a Hubble image of the Orion nebula:

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

1st Attempt at Prime Focus

My first few attempts in astroimaging at prime focus using my Celestron Travel Scope 70 and Nikon D3100.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

From Shades of Grey to Brilliant Red - December 10, 2011 Total Lunar Eclipse


Last night was the second total lunar eclipse of the year visible from the Philippines. I was fortunate enough to witness both however I failed to observe all phases of the second due to poor weather. We were suppose to go to PAGASA observatory with the RTU students but my companions decided to call off the observation since the sky remained covered with thick clouds by the evening. It also rained when the penumbral stage began.

I waited outside after the rain hoping the skies would clear up, but it remained heavilly clouded. I kept up with the updates from observers in Negros via txt and they were blessed with superb sky conditions to see the eclipse and the meteors that streaked by.

Later, gaps began to emerge and the red moon was revealed. I rushed to set up the camera to image the red moon. I was able to see the eclipsed moon till the end with occasional covering of clouds. I also failed to use the TravelScope 70 as lens attachment since the tripod that came with it couldn't hold the weight when pointed at the zenith.






Monday, December 5, 2011

December 10, 2011 - Total Lunar Eclipse

This coming Saturday, December 10, 2011, we will experience the 2nd Total Lunar Eclipse visible to the Philippines this year (A timely astronomical event for those still watching breaking dawn..hehe).

Here is the Eclipse time table provided by Fred Espenak on the Astroleague of the Philippines site:
Eclipse Phases Time (PST) Altitude Azimuth
Moon enters Penumbra 07:33:32 pm 30 deg 72 deg E
Moon enters Umbra 08:45:42 pm 47 deg 72 deg E
Moon enters Totality 10:06:16 pm 64 deg 67 deg E
Maximum Totality 10:31:48 pm 70 deg 63 deg NE
Moon exits Totality 10:57:24 pm 75 deg 55 deg NE
Moon exits Umbra 12:17:58 am 80 deg 325 deg NW
Moon exits Penumbra 01:30:00 am 65 deg 294 deg NW




 The reddening effect of the moon during the total lunar eclipse happens when the Moon enters the umbra, or the darker shadow of the Earth. When this happens, light from the Sun reaching the moon is blocked completely by the Earth, however the atmosphere of Earth acts as a lens which bends light into its component parts (spectra). The light that is bent most is the red part of the spectrum, which also explains the red-orange hue of the sky during sunrise and sunset. In contrast, blue wavelengths are the easiest component of light that is scattered - hence the blue colored sky as particles in the air scatter the blue light.

24-year old Fil-Am One of NASA's Youngest Engineers

Gregory Galgana Villar III, a Filipino American, is one of the youngest verification and validation engineers for the Mars Science Laboratory Mission who worked with the Mars Curiosity Project that is set to arrive on Mars on August 2012.

Read more from:
http://interaksyon.com/article/18797/24-year-old-fil-am-one-of-nasa-s-youngest-engineers

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Filipino Entries in the InOMN Art Contest

Please vote for the Filipino entries to the International Observe the Moon Night Art Contest.

Voting can be done at  surveymonkey.

The contest goes with the theme "What Does the Moon Mean to You?" where Each submission should convey a personal connection to our nearest celestial neighbor, describe the significance of the Moon to your respective culture, or highlight one or more of the ways in which the Moon has inspired you.

Here are the Entries from the Philippines
Painting:
5 Day Old Moon. By (Me) Reuel Norman A. Marigza, Jr.

Poetry:
Orb of Light. By (Me) Reuel Norman A. Marigza, Jr.

Landscape Photography:
Peeking the Moon through the telescope. By Angel Constantine Bajana
Thin young Moon and two Inner Planets, Venus and Mercury . By Ma. Criselda Roque (Raven Yu)
Old Lunar Crescent in the Southeastern Sky During Predawn. By Ma. Criselda Roque (Raven Yu)
A Marvelous Apparition of a Blood-Colored or Deep Red Moon. By Ma. Criselda Roque (Raven Yu)
October 22, 2011, a Nice Celestial Pairing of the Waning Cresent Moon and the Tiny Planet Mars. By Ma. Criselda Roque (Raven Yu)


Astrophotography:
Largest Full Moon of 2011. By Ma. Criselda Roque (Raven Yu)
Montage of Total Lunar Eclipse Photos. By Ma. Criselda Roque (Raven Yu)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Asteroid 2005 YU55 - No Harbinger of Doom

Recent news about the approach of near Earth object (NEO) Asteroid 2005 YU55 this November 8-9 has brought around speculations of a doomsday scenario. People say it's going to impact Earth, and a lot of fuss is going about in the internet.

Asteroid 2005 YU55 WILL NOT IMPACT EARTH during its approach. The asteroid will miss us by a margin of 325,000 km (200,000 miles), which is 0.85 lunar distances from the Earth. The path of the asteroid doesn't bring it close enough to be pulled by Earth into a collision course.

The C-type asteroid is relatively large, nearly spherical, at 400 meters in diameter. It was discovered in 2005 by Robert McMillan of the Spacewatch program near Tucson, Arizona. This NEO will be the closest approach of an object this big.

However, the approach of 2005 YU55 isn't even gonna be much of a visual sight since it will just appear as 1/4th arcseconds across (moon is 1800 arcsecs, which means you need a telescope to see it) and only with a visual brightness of magnitude 11. Not to mention its closest approach will be during daylight. Only radio telescopes can get high resolution imagery of the asteroid.


So, again there is nothing to worry about. :)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

AstroEscapades

During the long weekend I went up to my home town - Baguio City. I checked the weather for Baguio City using weatherspark which was introduced by Dr. Lee in the October meeting of the ALP. The weather was good for that week and my classmate in astronomy, Vanessa, was able to do some observations when she was in Baguio before me. Also, John Nassr from Baguio had wonderful images recently posted to his website.

Since the weather seemed to participate, I brought along my Celestron Travel Scope 70. I seriously put the word "Travel" in the TS 70 to the test for a stargazing tour with my relatives. The telescope is really lightweight and is easy to travel with in its custom backpack.

Aiming the TS 70 at Jupiter with my cousins.

My first stop was in Long-long, La Trinidad. It was a dark site with wonderful star studded skies (see previous post). At first we thought we weren't going to be able to see anything since it was cloudy, but knowing Baguio's skies we knew things change quickly (one minute it looks like it's gonna pour, the next it's crazy sunny). I was able to see the Milky Way after a long time and lots of faint stars that I have missed since moving to the highly urban Manila.
Imaging the stars with an Olympus E-510.

The following day, we went down to Aringay, La Union to visit our grandparents. My cousin knew a remote site by the sea where the skies were extremely dark. However, clouds began to gather as we set up the scope and camera to view Jupiter. I wanted to observe again the following night in the same site, but we had to wake up early to go to Clark. So I set up in the church however there were a lot of obstructions.


Crescent Moon imaged in Aringay.
 Unfortunately, after we came from Clark, the following nights have been cloudy and I wasn't able to do any more observations. I was able to get some images of the moon and the sunset though.

Searching for dark sky sites is a must if you really want to see more during your observations. The problem of urban sites is that light pollution washes out the fainter stars and other celestial objects making them virtually invisible. Having access to dark sky sites is a key tool in observational astronomy. Since these sites are usually in remote places it would also be effective to have a grab-&-go scope or a scope that you can easily set-up and take with you on the go.


Our ride to the observing sites.

Waxing Crescent Moon

Sunset on the road home from Clark







Saturday, October 29, 2011

Stargazing session - Oct 29, 2011

I came up to Baguio yesterday after our professor decided to have a break instead of going all the way through the long weekend. I brought my Travel Scope 70 ("Beta") with me to observe with my cousins. We drove off to Long-long, a dark site in La Trinidad. The weather conditions was good enough to reveal a very beautiful star field.

I also was lucky enough to borrow an SLR for imaging, an Olympus E-510, however I wasn't familiar with the settings of the camera so I just imaged what I can. It turns out I need an T-rings for my TS70 to connect it with the cam, so I just went with the point and shoot approach.

Hyades Star Cluster. ISO 1600.

Jupiter and Galilean Moons. The moons appear to make Jupiter look like Saturn.

Orion.
Cassiopeia

Pleiades Star Cluster. ISO 800.

Crescent Moon, Venus and Mercury

Here is an image of a conjunction of the waxing crescent moon, Venus, and Mercury, by Erika Valdueza.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Argument of Ignorance - The UFO

Now that we're experiencing the Orionids and another possible satellite crash, somewhere in the world someone will be saying the word UFO!

When we see something unrecognizable in the sky some individuals think that "it's an alien spacecraft!" The UFO stands for Unidentified Flying Object - with strict emphasis on the word UNIDENTIFIED! How can you say it's an alien spacecraft when your not sure what it is? This is the argument of Ignorance.

Most UFO sightings are actually mistaken objects, both man made and naturally present in nature. There is almost always an explanation to a UFO sighting. Here are some of my favorite UFO misconceptions:



man-made:
  • Chinese lanterns - now it's more common but there are still some who fall for it. Hot air allows these lanterns to fly into the sky and drift with the wind.
  • Weather Balloon - there are many variations to the weather balloon and usually it caries with blinking instruments. 
  • Military and experimental aircraft - (not so common in PH) piloted or remote they can confuse you
  • Satellite transit - to the non-astronomy community you would really be boggled when you see a star suddenly grow bright and fly away then vanish, it's a satellite folks!
  • Flares - seriously? haha


natural:
  • Reflection - internal reflection on an airplane window or on camera lenses
  • Swamp gas - natural gas that has all sorts of eerie effects from refraction of light
  • Ball lightning - one of the rare and unexplained forms of lightning. Also known as St. Elmo's fire or santelmo.
  • Elves and sprites - other strange forms of lightning 
  • Lenticular clouds - a cloud form resulting from air currents rising perpendicular to the cloud 
  • Venus and Sirius - yeah, these two are the brightest points of light in the sky that baffles those who are unfamiliar with them
  • Meteors - especially when they blow up in mid-air or break apart into smaller meteor streaks

Most people are usually to lazy to do some research or assume too much. Beware of making the argument of ignorance. The sky is filled with many more eerie effects, it wouldn't hurt to learn more. Besides the more you learn, the more it works to your advantage.  :)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Storms from the Sun

The Sun - the source of light, the source of life.

I've recently began to take interest in solar astronomy since it is the easiest object to observe during these period of cloudy nights and rain. The sun is the closest star. It is a source of energy and it defines the seasons of the Earth. This 4.5 billion year old star is not just a static ball of hydrogen gas, but is a very lively and sometimes destructive object.

The sun goes under an 11 year solar cycle discovered in 1843 by the German astronomer Heinrich Schwabe. He noticed the the number of visible sunspots (cooler regions in the sun's surface) varied; lesser and almost absent during the solar minimum, and more visible during solar maximum. Whenever a solar maximum approaches the sun becomes more active and CMEs (Coronal Mass Ejections) become more frequent.

My image of the huge Sunspot AR 1302. Image taken via MicroObservatory.
Recently, a large sunspot AR 1302 was observed. It caused several CMEs and X-class solar flares which caused geomagnetic storms in Earth. A Coronal Mass Ejection is the explosion of an enormous ball of electrified gas from the corona (outer solar atmosphere) which sends large amounts of plasma flying out into space at tremendously high speeds (up to 5 million mph). They are caused by the snapping of magnetic loops that were continuously stretched and twisted.

The electric currents that a CME generates produce geomagnetic storms on Earth, visible as auroras. Normally, when energetic particles from the Sun interact with particles from the atmosphere they get excited and form these beautiful lights at the pole regions. However, when huge amounts of energy, as that released in a CME, reacts with the Earth's magnetic field, they get to interact with more particles in the atmosphere and thus these auroras move to lower latitudes.

CMEs can alter the magnetic field in space and on the Earth. It can heat up and expand the atmosphere. It can also set off electrical surges in power lines and oil pipelines and can cause major blackouts, communications problems, and satellite damage.

Geomagnetic Storm. Image by Gordon McLellan. Sep 26, 2011. Pentax K-x with Tamron 10-24 @ 10mm, f5.6 iso 1600, exposure around 40 seconds.




Here are some useful links related to this post:
Daily Sun Images and Movies. SOHO (Solar and Heliospheric Observatory)
Solar Images from the Philippines. TV-101 blog page.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Stargazers Features the Stargazers: Randylyn Grapa

Stargazers Features the Stargazers!
Young stargazers, astronomy enthusiasts & amateur astronomers


Randylyn during a Moon-Jupiter conjunction
Our next stargazer feature is Randylyn Grapa, a dear friend of mine from Dumaguete City. She is a nursing student in Silliman University and works as an usherette/LACUU (Luce Auditorium Corps of Ushers and Usherettes) of the Silliman University Claire Isabel McGill Luce Auditorium. Despite her busy schedule, she always finds time to look up into the sky. She really has a natural interest for the beauty of the universe. Here is her account:


Lights are now out, darkness slowly crawls in; its stargazing time-- my hobby, my stress-reliever, my favorite time. I find it amazing how all these massive galaxies contain in one universe, how dead stars continue to illuminate the night sky and can be seen lucidly even if they’re long since perished. I don’t really remember when I begun stargazing but all I remember was I used to stare at the big blue dark sky ever since I was still a child. Back when I was in elementary, I often ask my best friend the question, “Have you seen Venus last night?” I think those were the days I started to love more about the night sky. When twilight comes, adrenaline rush fills my veins as I catch the sunset before it sets to the other horizon and whenever I stare at the sunset, I feel breathless. Sunsets are the best and loveliest; they’re one-of-a-kind, amazing and breath-taking. A vast array of emotions ascends unto me every time I find my favorites (Moon, Venus, Jupiter, Orion) stitched in the night sky but often times I get dazzled and hypnotized looking at them. I just love how the moon casts my shadow especially when its full moon and I also love the crescent moon particularly when it is contrasted against the colorful twilight. Venus and Jupiter are majestic; they’re like diamonds floating in the sky and radiating their beauty and power. Orion is the first constellation I have come to know about; it reminds me of my parents and the nearness of Christmas.
 
Amazingly, never a day will I go to bed or even start studying without looking at the precious night sky. It feels like my day wouldn’t be complete if I couldn’t catch a glimpse of the night sky. It is as if I am totally attached to the night sky and the night sky is definitely a part of me. I know next to nothing but I am hoping to learn more about the newly discovered exoplanets.




Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Stargazers Features the Stargazers: Mark Arzadon

Stargazers Features the Stargazers!
Young stargazers, astronomy enthusiasts & amateur astronomers


Our first stargazer feature is 15 year old Mark Claudel D. Arzadon from San Jacinto Pangasinan. Here is an account of his experiences:

I love astronomy since childhood. When I was 3 years old, my room was filled with luminous stars, planets, moon and galaxies bought by my parents for me and because of that I fell in love with celestial bodies

As I grew older, I became curious about it. I was 9 when I first reported it as a topic in our school (elementary) and I don't know why they were amazed about me because of my knowledge about it and I didn't even know how did made it.

I was 12 when my Dad bought a camera with long exposures and zoom, I just kept on experimenting on my Dad's cam while pointing at the stars, planets and the moon. At this time, I managed to take a picture of  a landscape at night time with a background of stars.

I was 13 when I took a picture of a satellite for the very first time like ISS, Iridium and HST. It is also my first time to observe a solar eclipse but not that much.

I was 14 when I observed a solar eclipse in detail. It was also my first time to take a picture of planets like Jupiter, nebula like Orion Nebula, star clusters like Pleiades.

Now, I'm 15, I observed a lunar eclipse in full detail for the very first time. After Jupiter, I also took a photo of Venus, Saturn and Uranus in this year but it is not in high resolution..

Way back in 2007 I saw the very first fireball in my life. I didn't have any idea about it. It was the event that opened my eyes to gaze upon the skies. I was walking in the streets along with my little brother after buying snacks when I saw that bright fireball and I was stunned by its beauty.

It was on December 14, 2009 when I saw a spectacular fireball (yellowish, and like a bolide and disappeared after 10 seconds) while we were on the way home from the beach during twilight. I was gazing up while listening to ambient music when I saw it. It was sign of the coming Geminids.

December 28, 2009: 3rd Fireball sighting, when me, my dad, and my little brother were stargazing, we saw a silvery-white bright fireball just before Quadrantids, This is when I'm experimenting on Radio Propagation for meteors, I was listening to a blank frequency on the radio when i heard a "Ping" right after it. I learned that technique on spaceweather.

May 17, 2010: 4th fireball and the most spectacular
I will never forget this fireball in my life, I saw it when I was riding in a bicycle during twilight, when I saw it slowly falling down and it is a very bright Bolide and I fell down in the street but I kept on looking at it 'coz i know it is very rare!

I regularly observe meteor showers, especially Quadrantids, Lyrids, Aquarids, Persieds, Orionids, Draconids, Leonids, and Geminids. But the Top 4 best Meteor showers for me are: Geminids, Persieds, Aquarids and Quadrantids.

My favorite Constellations are Orion, Canis Major, Ursa Major, Scorpius, Sagittarius, Pegasus, Andromeda, Taurus, Gemini, Perseus, Auriga...I think that are the most familiar for me. My favorite Nebula/Clusters: Pleiades, Orion Nebula, Nebulas in Sagittarius, Cluster in the heart of C.Major, Andromeda Galaxy.

Mark doesn't just look at the night sky but at the sky as a whole - atmospheric phenomena. He does HDR photography, captures lightning, and does time-lapse photography. His photos have also been featured in the Earth Science Photo of the Day (EPOD).
Iridescent Pileus Cloud. EPOD 25July2010
Circumzenithal Arc. EPOD 1Oct2011

Monday, October 3, 2011

Stargazers Features the Stargazers!

Stargazing is for everyone!


The beauty of the night sky inspires the mind of the young and old alike. People have looked into the heavens with awe and wonder for many centuries, putting astronomy among the oldest sciences. Inspired by the interest some friends have for the wonders of the universe, I decided to feature the young stargazers, astronomy enthusiasts, and amateur astronomers.

Keep posted for our featured stargazers. Our first feature will introduce Mark Arzadon, a high-school student from San Jacinto, Pangasinan.

Stargazing October 2011

Here are some highlights for October 2011. It's been a while since I posted a calendar of astronomical events in this blog so here I go again.

World Space Week
October 4-10. World Space Week is an international celebration of science and technology, and their contribution to the betterment of the human condition. The United Nations General Assembly (1999) selected the dates, Oct 4-10, to commemorate the first launch of the first man-made satellite (Sputnik 1; 4 Oct 1957), and the signing of the Treaty of Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (10 Oct 1967). This year's theme is "50 years of Human Space Flight."

Draconids Meteor Shower
October 8. This meteor shower is projected to have a sudden outburst this 2011. The highest rate for the Draconids was 1000/hr recorded on 1933. Since the meteors radiate from Draco, it is best to view this shower at latitudes where Draco is close to your Zenith (point above your head). For the Philippines, Draco doesn't approach our zenith, but will still be visible. However, the moon will be in its gibbous face so light from the moon will conceal the fainter meteor streaks.


La Luna del Cacciatore (Hunter's Moon)
October 12. Anyone who's an avid fan of the first AVP movie will surely recognize the phrase "Hunter's moon." The Hunter's moon is also known as the Blood Moon or Sanguine Moon. It is the first full moon after the Harvest Moon. The name Hunter's moon came from the benefit of moonlight to hunter's in shooting migratory birds. Also, Native American Indians also are said to stalk and hunt prey during this time to prepare for the upcoming winter.

Comet Elenin's closest Approach
October 16. The comet's orbit will bring it within close to 22 million miles of Earth. The comet was discovered by Russian amateur astronomer Leonid Elenin in Dec. last year.

Solar Week
October 17-21. More on Solar Week.
 
Mercury-Venus Conjunction
October 20. Conjunction, in astronomy, happens when two objects are apparently close to each other in the night sky. On October 20 watch the sunset and look for two bright points of light close together.

Orionid Meteor Shower
October 22. Coming from the same meteoroid stream as the Eta Aquarids, the Orionids belong to the debris left by Halley's Comet. It's zenithal hourly rate (rate when the radiant/source is close to the zenith) is 25 per hour. The source will be easy to locate, just look for the iconic Orion's belt. * * *

Jupiter at Opposition
October 29. A planet in opposition is in it's closest approach to Earth. This is when the planet will be exactly opposite to the position of the Sun in the sky, and will be most suitable for observing.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Urban Astronomy

with my Astromates observing at an Urban location
Dark skies are best for doing astronomy. With limited light pollution and air pollution, you can bring out the beauty of the universe through a star studded sky. Now that I am based in Quezon City, I no longer have the advantage of observing in sites with clear dark skies. However, there is still a lot observational astronomy that can be done in urban locations.

There are some periods & locations in urban sites where you can observe depending on the sky quality at a given time. Dr. Jesus Rodrigo Torres, professor of astronomy at RTU and member of the IAU, designed an urban astronomy scale (being used by NASA) for which you can categorize the night sky.

He categorized the sky conditions as follows:
I. Best sky quality with the lights from the residential and commercial centers subdued; the air is satisfactorily transparent; a hint of the Milky Way can be glimpsed in the Scorpius-Sagittarius region; moonless and cloudless.

II. Good sky quality with the air being satisfactorily transparent, but lights in commercial and residential areas still on; moonless and cloudless.

III. Moderately poor sky quality with high or fast-moving clouds revealing patches of transparent sky, but light in commercial and residential centers is subdued; Moon in crescent phase.

IV. Poor sky quality with high or fast-moving clouds; lights in commercial and residential centers are still on; Moon in crescent phase.

V. Bad sky quality with haze; lights in commercial and residential centers still on; limiting magnitude is +3.0; Moon in quarter phase.

VI. Very bad sky quality with haze or clouds almost covering the entire sky; heavy air and light pollution; Moon first quarter or bigger; limiting magnitude ranging from +2 and +3
.


Under each category there are still a number of things you can observe. For a category VI, you can still observe the moon, planets and bright single or double stars.

We were just observing last night till dawn under category IV-V skies. We were able to observe Jupiter, the Orion Nebula, Pleiades, Draco, Sirius and also the thin waning crescent moon (28 day old moon). We observed using a Travel Scope 70, and a 10x50 UpClose binoculars.

Thin Waning Crescent Moon. Photo Taken via afocal method with a Travel Scope 70 (10mm eyepiece) and Sony DSC-W350.Photo by Lieza Crisostomo.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Travel Scope 70 Review

I recently acquired a Celestron Travel Scope 70 from Cutting Edge as an early Christmas gift from my father. It was one of three affordable grab-and-go scopes sold - the other being the Firstscope and the Travel Scope 50 (both less 4k; and the scope at 4470). The Travel Scope 50 had bad reviews so I avoided it. I wanted to get the C90 Maksutov but it was out of the available budget range..hehe. This will be my 2nd refractor, the other being a Tasco 2-inch(?).

The Travel Scope series portable telescope is specially designed for traveling. Both the 50 and 70 are compact refractors suitable for terrestrial and astronomical observing.

The TS 70 has a 70mm aperture in a compact body (17 inches long). It comes with a full size photographic tripod, a 5x24 finderscope, two eyepieces (20mm and 10mm - nothing special) and custom backpack for traveling. It also comes with TheSky x First Light edition. The scope only weighs 3.3lbs making it very easy to carry around. Also, the optics are fully coated. The assembly was quite easy too, I didn't even use the manual (well, that could just be experience speaking).

The tripod was quite shifty though. Try touching the focusing knob while viewing a bright star and it will dance to your touch. It's more stable when collapsed to it's lowest height - more like a table-top scope like the Firstscope. Also, it seems like the tripod couldn't hold the whole weight when pointed towards the zenith. I think the tripod is the biggest let-down. Anyways, you can't expect much from the mount for the price.

I wasn't able to observe much during my first attempt due to poor observing conditions but I was able to view clearly the Double-Double in Lyra, and low-magnitude stars in the tail of Scorpius in a wide field of view. On my second attempt, I had Jupiter in sight and was amazed at the amount of detail I could see. I could make out the bands of Jupiter and saw all 4 Galilean moons. Online reviews say they can see the Trapezium with it, I have yet to test that for myself.

Oh, yeah! It isn't written down in the features but the focuser on the TS 70 has a T-thread on it for SLRs via T-rings. I wonder why this key feature is not mentioned? Just make sure to change the tripod before attempting to attach a weighty SLR.

Although the magnifications attainable (with the given eyepiece) are lesser than the Travel Scope 50 (especially since it comes with a Barlow lens), the TS 70 has a higher aperture for higher maximum useful magnification. Therefore, upgrade your eyepiece and you get better images.



Basically, you can just replace the eyepiece and the tripod with better ones and you get a great scope at a low price! ^_^

Monday, September 12, 2011

Philippine Planetariums

When I was in grade 3 at Baguio city, I remember the mobile planetarium that visited our school. This is one of the thing that fostered my interest for astronomy. Planetarium shows are wonderful, for kids and adults alike. Here is a list of the planetarium's I know of in the Philippines (except for the mobile one whose name I could not recall):

The Manila Planetarium/National Museum Planetarium
















PAGASA Planetarium














SkyXplore SpaceDome Planetarium















Digistar Planetarium

Mayon Planetarium and Science Park