Saturday, January 28, 2012

NAW-PAC 2012

Here are some of the activites for the National Astronomy Week - Philippine Astronomy Congress for the year 2012 in line with ALP and RTU:

Lecture: "The Birth and Death of the Milky Way" by Reinabelle P. Reyes, Ph.D. from Princeton University.
February 14, 2012

National Museum Planetarium:
Opening Ceremony. 19 Feb 2012
Film showing: "Doomsday 2012: End of Days"
Planetarium show: opening of "Starry Starry Nights"
"A Guide to knowing the truth about 2012 End of Days Scenario" Dr. Armando Lee
"Messier Observing Strategies" Peter Tubalinal
"Sky Observations with Celestron SkyScout" Christopher Lee

To be followed by public viewing at Rajah Solayman Park

24 Feb 2012. Free Public Viewing.

Closing Ceremony. 25 Feb 2012.
"Dark Matter, Dark Energy and the Fate of the Universe" John Ray Cabrera
"White Light & H-alpha Solar Imaging" Dr. Jett Aguilar
"Tips and Secrets of Planetary Imaging" Christopher Go
"The State of Philippine Astronomy" Dr. Jesus Torres

alternate lecture: "When the Universe Attacks" Reuel Norman Marigza, Jr.

To be followed by Free Public Viewing
at RTU Quadrangle

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Observation at Taytay, Rizal

Last Saturday, the astronomy graduate school students of RTU went out to Taytay, Rizal for an overnight observation. We set up in a place called Paradiso and set out to observe several targets as well as spend some time together. We brought along 4 telescopes (2 Astromaster 130s, 1 Meade ETX 125 and my TS 70) with us as well as several binoculars to observe the night sky. I brought my imaging gear with me but had to deal with winds shaking up my tripod.

We were able to observe several clusters, the planets Jupiter, Venus, Mars and Saturn, as well as some DSOs. We also were able to see several sporadic meteors most of which were bollides.

Participants: Von, Peejay, Joey, Ruby, Ryan, Pia, Pamela, Lieza, Vanessa, and myself.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Starry Christmas Night

My family spent the Christmas eve in our grandmother's place in Tuding, Baguio. Fortunately, the sky was crystal clear and the area was significantly dark. I set-up the camera and imaged the night sky

[Note: Hover the cursor over the image to reveal targets]

Images Taken with Nikon D3100 with 18-55mm lens set at 18. Exposure 30 sec.

2012 – A Year for Meteor Showers

The year 2012 is a year for meteor showers, and I don’t mean in relation to the apocalyptic end-of-the-world scenario as some may believe. This year is a year for meteor showers because the new moon coincides with most of the major meteor showers. This means that you can see more of the meteor shower because the light from the moon does not interfere with the fainter meteors that streak by the Earth’s atmosphere. It is simply a case of brighter light dimming the fainter lights. The new moon is always the best time for observing if you wish to see fainter targets – provided of course that you are away from light pollution (bright city/house lights) and that the weather cooperates.

There are 7 major meteor showers and four of them have their peaks during the new moon. They are the Lyrids (April 22), Orionids (Oct 20), Leonids (Nov 13), and the Geminids (Dec 13). This year will be the best time for observing meteors since the next two years will only have one meteor shower during the new moon (Perseids – 12 Aug 2013; & Quadrantids - 3 Jan 2014).

The Lyrids meteor shower has a zenithal hourly rate (ZHR) during the peak of 20 meteors per hour. Its radiant (apparent source or point of origin in the sky) lies a few degrees from Vega in the constellation Lyra. The source of this meteor stream is the comet Thatcher.

The Orionids meteor shower has a ZHR during the peak of 25 per hour. The radiant appears to be along the right arm of Orion the hunter. The source of the meteors is the comet 1P/Halley.

The Leonids meteor shower has a ZHR during the peak of 20 per hour but usually varies and becomes a meteor storm that can generate up to 1,000 meteors per hour. In November 1966 the ZHR was approximately 100,000 per hour. The varying rate suggests that the meteor orbit is fairly young. Its radiant lies inside the asterism of the sickle in the constellation of Leo. The stream originates from the comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle. The meteors move across the atmosphere with speed of 44 miles per second and as a result would generate more fireballs (very bright meteors) from large amounts of friction with the atmosphere.

The Geminids meteor shower, a personal favorite, has a ZHR during the peak of 120 per hour (approx 2/min). Although the slowest of the meteor showers, the Geminids still produce fireballs as a result of their denser and heavier meteors. The radiant of the meteor is close to Castor of the constellation Gemini. The stream originates from the asteroid 3200 Phaethon.