Saturday, December 22, 2012

Astronomy versus Astrology

Over the past few weeks, we have been busy debunking the doomsday hoax by providing a scientific explanation of the various scenarios.  In this endeavor however,  we came across a local TV network that consistently referred to astrologers for their broadcasts. Aside from that, when the network finally invited an astronomer to explain, their questions were focused more on social behavior rather than understanding the situation. As one of the major networks in the country it was sending the wrong stuff and providing a dependence in society on superstition.

Astrology is NOT A SCIENCE!  It is a belief system that connects the positions of heavenly bodies to predict human behavior. This has no scientific basis at all. Although astrology employs the use of observation of the heavenly bodies, the conclusions they form have no significant connection to their data.

Astronomy however is A SCIENCE.  It is a detailed and accurate study of the heavenly bodies and the physical laws that govern them. It is tested and proven through the years with detailed study and observations. Astronomy makes scientific predictions based on facts - predictions on various physical occurrence and phenomena in the universe.

We can easily disprove the credibility of astrological predictions in various ways.  In astrology they believe that each zodiac sign has an attributed behavior.  Imagine gathering a small group of the same sign.  They are sure to have certain similarities. However, as individuals we are bound to have more differences. Now imagine a thousand people with the same sign. The likelihood that they are to all have the same behavior becomes very much lesser (likely 0%).

Another way to do it would be to compare the horoscopes for a specific day. Horoscope predictions are generic in nature and can apply to any individual. If compared against each other their inconsistencies become evident. You can also shuffle the horoscopes and try to get them to match with the occurrence in life of any individual sign.

If the information we base our decisions on are inaccurate and inconsistent, then our judgment will have no bearing.  Do not insult your ability to think critically.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

December 19 Solar Image

Low solar activity in the past few days. The triangle formation of two active regions AR 1633 and AR 1634 plus a new sunspot AR 1635. The low activity means minimal flares and almost a 0% chance for a coronal mass ejection. This contradicts any December 21 doomsday scenario associated with the sun.

Image in white light (color edited) through a glass filter attached to a Sky-watcher Explorer 200 with Nikon D3100 at prime focus.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Debunking 2012 Doomsday at Pinoy Scientist

16Dec2012 - Astronomy talk at Radyo Agila's Pinoy Scientist Program. For this episode we talked about the truth behind the 2012 doomsday scenarios. I was there as a guest with Norman Mascarinas of the UP Astrosoc (left) and Frederick 'Bamm' Gabriana (2nd from right). The hosts of the program was Dr. Custer Deocaris and Rochelle Derilo.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Philippine Space Initiative

14 December 2012
From left: Frederick Gabriana, Dr. Jose Aban, Dr. Jesus Torres, Dr. Merle Tan

A press conference was held at Annabel's in Tomas Morato to Debunk the December 21 Doomsday event as well as to present the launching of the Philippine Space Initiative. Different media representatives were there to listen to the panel of astronomers and planetary scientists including:
  • Dr. Jesus Rodrigo Torres (RTU, President; member of the International Astronomical Union),
  • Dr. Jose Edgardo Aban (University of Brunei Darussalam/ Former Head of the DOST's Committee on Space Technology Applications)
  • Dr. Merle C. Tan (Former Head of UP-NISMED) and
  • Mr. Frederick Gabriana (DOST-ASTI/mathematician and expert in positional astronomy).
The event was hosted by Dr. Custer Deocaris (DOST Balik Scientist/Professor of Astrobiology).

A discussion was held to provide the media with credible scientific information with regards to the cataclysmic scenarios associated with the Mayan apocalypse.

The Philippine Space Initiative was also presented to celebrate the country's long-awaited entry into the "Space Age." This move is a continuation of the efforts in the country to create a Philippine Space Agency (PSA). The project is led by Rizal Technological University's Office for Space Science Innovation and Cooperation (OSSIC). A bill for the Philippine Space Act was drafted by Dr. Deocaris and presented to Congressman Palmones of the Agham party-list.

RTU Astro-Soc setting up their telescopes for a solar observation

RTU Astro-soc president John Lequiron being interviewed by ABS-CBN
"Astronomer ako, tuloy ang Pasko" Christmas will go on and the world won't end.

See more from:
Manila Bulletin
The Philippine Star