Friday, May 31, 2013

30 - 31 May Lunar Observations

I woke up much later than usual on the morning of May 30. The sky was already of a blue hue and hardly any stars were visible. I was only able to squeeze in a few shots before having to prepare for work.

 The sky was clear on the morning of May 31. I had to setup outside since the Moon was low enough for it to be obstructed by the neighboring houses. I was able to capture a several good close ups of the lunar surface.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

29 May 2013 Lunar Observation

The sky was partly cloudy this morning so I wasn't able to get close ups of the lunar surface. I only had a few minutes in a cloud gap.


28 May 2013 Lunar Observation

The Moon will be rising much later during the waning phases. Some people are not able to observe the waning phases since you either have to stay up late or rise up early. As an observer, I personally have not been able to complete one straight lunar cycle due to this factor and of course, cloudy weather. This were taken during the early morning of May 28. I suddenly had a drive to image the waning phases of this month's perigee Moon for a project.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

May 26, 2013 Lunar Observation

Last night's Moon, a day after the full flower Moon. I used eyepiece projection to get a magnified image of the lunar craters. The Moon this month is in its perigee position, making it closer than it is before.

Friday, May 17, 2013

A State of Philippine Astronomy

It is a sad fact that astronomy in the Philippines is subject to a power play between institutions, societies, and individuals - a thing we can do without in order for progress to happen.

I've been interested in astronomy since childhood and upon entering college took the nearest thing - physics. I maintained my passion for astronomy while enrolled in physics, and have enjoyed sharing it with my classmates and other students. I got in contact with astronomy enthusiasts and amateur astronomers via the internet who were also enthusiastic to share their insights and experiences. I eventually learned about the first astronomy program in the country in the Philippines for undergraduate and graduate studies. Because of my passion for astronomy I decided to take it. Later I got oriented with the astronomy societies in the Philippines, and later the rivalries between them. I affiliated with one group but still hold a stand to remain neutral since I was more into it for the science and involvement. Several individuals also hold a neutral stand, but sadly some individuals refuse to affiliate themselves with the other parties.

Eventually I worked for RTU as an instructor for the Department of Earth and Space Sciences. However, there came a time when other institutions looked down on our department also due to its new nature. Other individuals eventually came into the picture who appear to be too competitive that they assume positions of leadership and coordination for astronomy but fail to include or reach out to others. Even government institutions themselves appear to have a conflict of interest when it comes to astronomy. There came instances when PAGASA, the government's arm for astronomy, was side tracked by other branches of the DOST.

All these power plays result to misrepresentation in the international scientific community, lack of opportunities for students and astronomy enthusiasts (neutral or not), and lack of direction for progress and development in the country.

Now, complaining like this would surely get some eyebrows raised or hit some individuals; even put my career at risk by getting on some individuals' radar. However, if anyone contests, then PLEASE DO PROVE ME WRONG by showing that cooperation can happen. That ASTRONOMY IS FOR ALL and does not belong to a single individual, society, or institution. That competition is alright as long as it is FAIR and HEALTHY. If you are more qualified than others, help rather than pull down. Leave the politics to politicians, and focus on the science. After all, most of the programs we implement are geared to reach out.

Lastly, I wish to end my idealistic ranting with a quote from the Keck Observatory, "The process of science is not complete until it is shared with others."

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Unboxing the Meade LX850

We just unboxed RTU's newest telescope (and now also RTU's largest), the 14" Meade LX850. This telescope is designed as a sophisticated automated astro-imaging system. I've been given instruction to have it field tested soon and I can't wait to try it out.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Congratulations: 2nd batch BS Astronomy Technology

Congratulations to the second batch of BS Astronomy Technology students of RTU. The faculty of the Department of Earth and Space Sciences are proud of you!