Tuesday, August 28, 2012

My Latest Lunar Pics

Here are some of my latest Lunar images. The sky here in the QC, Philippines has not been very cooperative over the few months, so I'm happy whenever I get a chance to observe.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Neil Armstrong

Neil Armstrong
(1930 - 2012)
"One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind"

Rest in peace!
Neil Armstrong was the first man to walk on the moon (Apollo 11 Mission, 1969). 
He died at the age of 82 after complications in cardiovascular procedures from a heart by-pass surgery.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Father and Son Astro Team

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

Our next stargazer feature highlights a unique father-and-son tandem of amateur astronomers. Meet Gary and Steinar Andreassen, members of the Astronomical League of the Philippines. These two joined the ALP only recently, but have become very active since. They both share a wonderful passion for astronomy and astroimaging.
setting up their scopes at Caliraya

Here is Gary's recollection of how he and Steinar got started in astronomy:
One of my earliest childhood memories was actually seeing the moon landing on TV. I was three years old then and the image stuck in my head. I think that’s when my fascination about all things astronomical and cosmological started.

About three years ago, I was at National Bookstore and lo and behold I saw a telescope being sold all for the princely sum of Php 800. I bought it and later that night when I got home immediately used it to look at the moon. To say that I was dumbstruck is an understatement. I immediately called Steinar and showed him the moon on the scope.
The Andreassens during the BWB: Hello Mars event

In doing so, I wasn’t aiming to get him obsessed with astronomy as I was. I just really wanted to show him the moon close up for educational reasons. Apparently, its effect on him was more than I intended, and he got bit by the astronomy bug as bad as I was.

Jupiter occultation by the Andreassens

It is a wonderful site to see when the family shares a common passion. Keep it up Team Andreassen! :)

Friday, August 10, 2012

Where to Live in the Solar System

If you were to establish a settlement in another planet/moon in our solar system, where would you decide to live?

Well, we had a discussion once in class and we had three choices: the Moon, Mars, and Europa (one of Jupiter's moons). We ended up choosing the sub-surface ocean of Europa in a nuclear submarine-like settlement for the following reasons:
  • All three do not have enough mass to hold a sufficient amount of atmosphere. The solution would to have an atmosphere generating environment within the structure of the settlement itself. However, without an external atmosphere you have to deal with the lack of pressure and meteors that don't burn up upon entry. Submerging to a particular depth in Europa can compensate for the lack of pressure. The ice crust (10-30km thick) would also stop meteors so no need for maintenance from micro-meteor damage, or sand storms for that matter.
  • Mars and the Moon have no magnetic field to protect it from the solar wind. Europa on the other hand is influenced by the vast magnetic field of Jupiter, and also has an induced magnetic field suggesting that the sub-surface ocean is salt-water.
  • The Moon is said to contain some amount of water, however it is not enough to provide for a settlement. Mars has its frozen ice caps and Europa its mineral rich ocean.
  • It may be possible to breed aquatic life for food in Europa. In the Moon and in Mars, you can only breed animals or grow plants within the settlement.
  • Mars and the Moon have no source of heat while Europa has tidal heating. This can also be tapped as a source of energy.

As always, the biggest problem for this scenario is getting there. But, you never know what advancement in space exploration might pop up in the years to come.
So how about you, where would you like to live in the solar system? :)

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Mars Curiosity

Watch the live webcast of the landing of the Curiosity rover on Mars today :)