Monday, December 26, 2016

Twas the Dawn Before Christmas

Our family was traveling North for this Christmas to visit our relatives and our first stop was in Agoo, La Union - our grandparents' place. The house there was renovated a few years back and my grandmother put into consideration that I was an astronomer and added an astrodeck for my use. As we arrived at around 2 AM I looked up right away, as most astronomy inclined person does, and I saw that the sky was just perfect. Typhoon Niña (Nock-Ten) was underway and I had to take advantage of the sky condition. I immediately rushed up and set my camera to image the sky while the rest of the family went to bed.

I have always enjoyed the night sky from this area. The night sky is dark in this area with a low population density and the West Philippine Sea bordering on the West. The municipality I was in only accounts for 8% of the population in the province. Unfortunately, some unshielded lights have been recently installed in the North-Eastern side (hence my source of illumination in the picture above). Nevertheless, they are still within manageable observing conditions.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Astronomy Publications in the Philippines

This is a listing of digital and print media publications for astronomy in the Philippines.

The Second Coming: 1986 Marks Comet Halley's Second Return This Century
Creator: Edwin Aguirre & Imelda Joson
A 355-page reference book on Halley's comet published by the National Research Council of the Philippines.
Format: printAccess: sale

Astronomy PH
Creator: GAIA - Open Research And Collaborative Learning Experience
A digital media designed to promote scientific communication and collaboration within the local astronomy community and the rest of the general public. It features news/articles from different astronomy and astronomy related groups, institutions and individuals.
Format: digital
Access: open

Creator: Philippine Astronomical Society
Official newsletter of PAS
Format: digital

Philippine Journal of Astronomy
Creator: Astronomical League of the Philippines
Contains manuscripts, general astronomy articles, image submissions, reviews from professional and amateur astronomers, as well as news from the organization.
Format: digital
Access: members only (occasional open access)

Creator: Astronomical League of the Phillipines
Official newsletter of ALP
Format: digital
Access: members only

Balatik: Etnoastronomiya Kalangitan sa kabihasnang Pilipino
Creator: Dr. Dante Ambrosio, PhD., UP Press
A compilation of ethnoastronomy research in the Philippines
Format: print
Access: Sale

A Catalogue of Astronomical Objects as reference for Campus Astronomy
Creator: Dr. Jesus Rodrigo Torres, PhD., RTU Academic Journal
An observing catalogue designed for student use with binoculars or small telescopes.
Format: print
Access: RTU DESS

Creator: RTU Department of Earth and Space Sciences
A compilation of digital media from students, faculty and staff of RTU-DESS.
Format: digital
Access: open

The Armillary
Creator: Armillary, RTU Astronomy Society
Official student publication of RTU AstroSoc.
Format: digital

Astronomical Diary
Creator: PAGASA
Monthly digital diary listing down observing events for the month
Format: digital, webpage only
Access: open

Stars and Galaxies
Creator: Norman Marigza
Astronomy textbook for the college course Astro4: Stars and Galaxies
Format: digital (in full-color and in printer friendly version)
Access: open via RTU BS Astro-Tech batch 2018 students

The Myths
Creator: Damiana L. Eugenio
Philippine Folk Literature Series. A compilation of Philippine lore on Philippine astronomy.
Format: print
Access: UP Press

Abstract Jupiter: An Anthology for the Cause of Aedan Pio
Creator: Literature V.S. Cancer
Astronomy artwork by cancer warrior Aedan Pio Malvar
Format: print
Access: Literature V.S. Cancer or at Prism Gallery

Friday, May 6, 2016

Manila Street Astronomers Schedule

The Manila Street Astronomers is a non-profit outreach astronomy group.
Part of our aim is to foster cooperation and collaboration among the local astronomy community. That is why our members comprise of volunteers from different astronomy organizations and the general public. Be part of our growing group - professional astronomers, amateur astronomers, astronomy and space enthusiasts, stargazers, everyone can take part. No membership fee/monthly dues of any kind required, just a passion to share and promote astronomy and other STEM areas.

Join us in our upcoming events [I shall try to update this post every time we have a new event]:

or learn more about us at our:

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Space Robots

It's summer once again and while some kids are going places during their vacation, some are joining summer camps. This summer I was tasked to create a robotics camp for SMILE (Specializing in Modern Interactive Learning Experiences) Group. The Space Race camp, which is a cross between robotics and space sciences, runs for 8 sessions. Here they get to use Lego Mindstorm's EV3 and design and program it as a space rover. They get to understand how robots are used in space exploration as well as understand the features of different space landscapes and phenomena.

In reality robots dominate the space exploration scene. One fundamental reason for this is that space is a harsh environment. It actually costs more for human space exploration than for robotic missions. Humans require life support systems - supply of air, water and food; radiation shielding; temperature control, etc. Also, humans are subject to physical and psychological problems during long periods of space flight and isolation.

Robots in space exist in many forms such as landers, rovers, orbiters, and utility bots. They are designed for specific environments and for specific functions. Here are some of them:

Curiosity Rover
Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover. The task of Curiosity is to study the Martian geology in order to find out whether Mars could have supported Microbial life

Robonaut2 (R2)
A humanoid robot designed to be a helper for astronauts.

Shuttle Remote Manipuator System (SRMS). This robotic arm captures, repairs, and deploys satellite's out into space.

Valkyrie (R5)

NASA's Robonaut 5. This humanoid robot is designed to operate in extreme space environments.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Solar Eclipse

Here is my coverage of the March 9 Partial Solar Eclipse as seen from Project 6, Quezon City, Philippines. I setup my Sky-Watcher Explorer 150PL with my Baader solar filter for imaging and my Celestron Travelscope 70 with black polymer filter for visual observation. The initial forecast in the morning suggested partly cloudy skies but was fortunate to get good conditions except for the end of the eclipse.

The umbral shadow will pass through the waters of Indonesia giving us only a partial view. Originally the plan was for me and my friends from the International School for Young Astronomers to meet back at Indonesia for the eclipse but we weren't able to do so. Instead I took a leave today from work to cover the eclipse. As the eclipse progressed I tried to share the observations to the general public via Facebook.

The rest of the astronomical community are dispersed in different areas to cover the eclipse. In the coming days I hope I can feature the different solar eclipse activities here.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Ignite 2016

On February 29, 2016 four astronomy groups came together for a collaborative solar astronomy workshop entitled "Ignite 2016". The whole day workshop was held at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines Laboratory High School (PUP LHS). The participants were exposed to four areas:
  • Solar observation and eclipse details
  • Telescope basics
  • Solar Astronomy lecture
  • Astronomy virtual tour

This workshop was done to assist the newly established Astronomy, Science and Technological Research Association (ASTRA) of the PUPLHS. This effort was made possible through the cooperation of the Guild for Astronomy Innovation and Advancement (GAIA), the University of the Philippines Astronomical Society, and the Manila Street Astronomers (MSA).

For more event photos visit link 1 and link 2.