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Trifid Nebula

Posted on October 24, 2015 at 7:30 AM Comments comments (0)

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by John Nassr

When the season is predominantly cloudy, an astronomer will jump at even a quick patch of starry sky which is like a welcomed and much needed breath of fresh air. Last night was such the case for this deprived astroimager. All the weather allowed was a quick 15 minutes of dark clear sky for me to capture as much light from M20 the Trifid Nebula as possible, before closing in and bringing rain again. The nebula is in Sagittarius inhabiting the dense central part of our own Milky Way galaxy. It is a star-forming stellar nursery similar to M42 in Orion. Here is my catch for the night.

Lagoon Nebula

Posted on October 24, 2015 at 7:30 AM Comments comments (0)

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by John Nassr

Clear sky finally graced the monsoon season last night and I could not resist to at least attempt a quick image of a bright and easy to find target. I swept the dark sky with binoculars and was quickly attracted to the glow of the Milky Way and the obvious nebulosity of the Lagoon Nebula, M8 in Sagittarius. I decided to use an uncooled Nikon D7000 color camera partly to test its high ISO capabilities and partly to make sure I would be able to still bag an image even if clouds suddenly got in the way, which was simply too risky if I used a monochrome camera requiring four filters to go through. The result of my test is a 2-minute exposure of M8 at ISO6400.

The Gethsemane Event

Posted on October 21, 2015 at 9:10 AM Comments comments (0)

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The Gethsemane Prayer at Montalban, Rizal became the venue for the PAS April monthly meeting, public outreach stargazing, and Lyrid Meteor observation held on April-22, 2012.


Please check the website's Photo Gallery for the album of photos re this event. Below is also the Facebook link for the same, which includes the photo captions.

The Supermoon

Posted on October 19, 2015 at 9:40 AM Comments comments (0)

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by Roland Roldan

Supermoon, May 5, 2012,: 7:48:48, 99.3 Full Moon ("moontaged" with passing clouds and clear sky). Taken at Muntinlupa City, Philippines.

Saturn April 9, 2012

Posted on October 19, 2015 at 9:40 AM Comments comments (0)

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by John Nassr

Saturn is just a week away from opposition and has grown to 19 arc seconds at the equator. Sharp details were elusive with mediocre seeing but large features are nonetheless captured. The rings continue to tilt toward Earth.

Venus and Jupiter Dance Together This Week

Posted on October 19, 2015 at 9:35 AM Comments comments (0)

* This is a backup post from the main page by Mike Hall

Photo below by Anthony Urbano taken at PAGASA Observatory March 15, 2012.


Photo above by Margie Parinas on February 22 taken at De La Salle University after the NAW Symposium.

Venus and Jupiter have been dancing toward each other in the night sky for months, and they'll finally come together this week in a dazzling show for skywatchers.

Beginning tonight (March 12), the two brightest planets in the sky will be so close together that you'll be able to block both of them out with a few fingers held at arm's length. The celestial action peaks Thursday (March 15), when Venus and Jupiter line up in what's known as a planetary conjunction.

Venus-Jupiter conjunctions are fairly special events, occurring roughly every 13 months. And this one should be the best conjunction for several years to come for viewers in the Northern Hemisphere, experts say, because the two planets will be visible for so long in the evening sky. At mid-northern latitudes on Thursday, the pair should blaze bright over the western horizon for about four hours after sunset.

Though Jupiter is about 11 times wider than the roughly Earth-size Venus, Venus shines much more brightly than the gas giant from our perspective — about eight times more brightly this week, in fact. [Video: Jupiter & Venus Loom Large] (Photo above by Margie Parinas, PAS)

Comet Garradd C2009 P1

Posted on October 19, 2015 at 9:30 AM Comments comments (0)

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by John Nassr

Comet Garradd C 2009 P1 is just a few days from closest approach to Earth. It glows at magnitude 7 and is easy to detect in a pair of 10x50 binoculars. The comet is quite extensive and easily spans over two degrees of sky or four full moon widths. (Imaged March 1, 2012)

Moon-Jupiter Close Pairing

Posted on October 19, 2015 at 9:25 AM Comments comments (0)

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by Anthony Urbano

Shell Galaxy in Color

Posted on October 19, 2015 at 8:55 AM Comments comments (0)

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by John Nassr

NGC 474 is a classic shell galaxy interacting with its smaller neighbor NGC 470. This strikingly unusual galaxy is also listed as ARP 227 in Halton Arp's Catalog of Peculiar Galaxies.


I was inspired to attempt imaging it after discovering an earlier image by Mischa Schrimer The evolution and mechanics of galaxy shells is well expounded on in the excellent work of Ken Crawford in collaboration with professional astronomers

Newton's Apple by Fr. Victor Badillo

Posted on April 10, 2011 at 3:47 PM Comments comments (0)

The young man had read or wrote physics books under his favorite apple tree many times before.  During the days he read, flowers blossomed attracting bees.  They came to carry off apple nectar and deposit pollen from other trees. Bees knew that there was no free nectar.




In time the flowers wilted to give way to fruits. One was directly above Newton’s head.  It had never fallen before.  Gravity tugged at it to no avail, not because Newton’s body was blocking the force, but because it was held in place by its stem.  Eventually the tree said, “The little fellow is now equipped with the necessities of life, but he cannot propagate our species up here.“ So it stopped nourishing the stem and gravity had its way. Cut was the umbilical cord that kept the apple from falling.



It bounced off Newton’s head and fell to the ground, some distance from the tree.  This was good, for it had a better chance of life away from the mother tree.  Better still, if picked up and eaten far away, the species would be propagated over the globe.



Another person would have looked up and reasoned,“The fruit fell.  That leaf when it dries will fall.  That branch when it rots will fall.  Anything not held up will fall.”  For Newton it was, “The fruit fell.  Therefore the moon is falling.”  He had discovered the law of universal gravitation.  Physical laws valid on earth are valid out of the earth.



 When he got home, he told his mother, “The moon is falling.”  To which she replied, “So is the sky”. Clearly Newton had his work cut up.  His intuition had to result in something measurable.   It had to predict results.



Earlier, Kepler reduced to a neat mathematical expression mountains of observations of planets.  He showed that the paths of planets were elliptical, correcting Galileo and others who thought they were circular.  He found too the relation of the distance of a planet to its period (the time it took to orbit the sun).  Knowing the period of a planet (which is easy to determine) he did not have to spend years and equipment to determine its distance.  He just had to use paper and pencil.   This was a big step.   What Kepler did was curve fitting, or summarizing data neatly, namely mathematics. But why are planetary paths elliptical and their distances from the sun calculable from their periods?




Newton gave the answer with his celestial mechanics.  It was because gravity makes planets fall to the sun.  He provided the physics to the mathematics of Kepler.

Celestial mechanics provide the means to determine the existence of extra solar planets, the mass of a galaxy (containing billions of stars), even the mass of the whole universe.  Newton provided the method  to weigh the universe.




Humbly, Newton acknowledged, “I have seen further than other men, because I stood on the shoulders of giants”.  On another occasion he said, “To myself I seem to he only like a boy, playing on the seashore, and now and then finding a smoother pebble, or a prettier shell, while the great ocean of truth lay undiscovered before me.''



It was not the shiny red color of the skin, or the delicious taste of the apple that was decisive.  All that was needed was an object that could fall, an object that had mass.  It could have been a stone, or even a McIntosh.



Adam’s apple made him lose heaven.  Newton’s apple made him conquer the heavens.


Geminids Meteor Shower 2010

Posted on December 16, 2010 at 12:03 PM Comments comments (1)

I was happy to see 36 meteors last night (11:15 pm of the 14th to 1:30 am of the 15th) after the disappointing overcast weather on the 13th. Three of them were fireballs, brighter than Venus and yellowish in color! 


Also had the pleasure of accompanying two friends who'd never seen a shower. Glad the weather cooperated.


Sharon Fangonon


Re Sunday's Sun

Posted on October 27, 2010 at 1:20 PM Comments comments (0)

From Clem Brazil, Australia


Looks like those filaments are about to snap. Awesome images of an

awakening sun. I bought a couple of Baader Astrozap filters about a month or

so ago, one for visual and one for imaging. They're good. But the images

are kind of flat and not very interesting. But I didn't use any other

filters then. Maybe if I used a polarizing or a skyglow filter, I can get

more contrast. I tried to do that yesterday but clouds covered the sun.

So I was just fooling around with the controls and wondered if I can see

Venus at 10 in the morning. Making sure that Venus wasn't anywhere near the

Sun I punched in Venus on the controller and, surprisingly, a nice crescent-

shaped object against a blue background appeared in the field of view of my

25mm Plossl. I quickly changed the scope I planned to use to observe the sun

with to the 6inch Newt and got a better look. By that time the clouds were

gone but it didn't matter for I got Venus instead. So that is one thing one

can observe during the day(LOL). The thing is, it can get too hot, so after

quickly imaging it, I packed it up quickly before the Sun got too high.

Star Trails at Basilan

Posted on September 3, 2010 at 12:02 PM Comments comments (0)

Just arrived from Basilan on an assignment. The sky's clear. Nighttime, I

left my cam at the rooftop of the hut we spent the night. The result:


I did only this shot (nighttime) as its too dangerous to venture outside

during nighttime up to early mornings. You can view my full Basilan gallery:








Lonely Perseid Meteor

Posted on August 16, 2010 at 11:33 PM Comments comments (3)

Just frustrating........the clouds, the clouds hovering over Muntinlupa........luckily the sky opened up for a few minutes.


Cropped image.......10 minutes on bulb mode, 50 f1.4 Pentax MZ-20, cropped image, August 15, 2010, 10pm.


Perseid Observation

Posted on August 16, 2010 at 10:31 PM Comments comments (1)

I was staying at a friend's cottage last week and we had perfect weather for observing the Perseids. The cottage is on the east shore of Georgian Bay, Ontario, Canada. The nearest town is Parry Sound with a population of about 20,000, but it is about 40 kilometers to the south so the sky is very dark and free of artificial light. Of course it was just after the new Moon, so that also helped.

My friends and I went out around 11 pm and lay on the granite rocks beside the lake and stared up at the glorious sight of the Milky Way overhead. Every few minutes one of us would call out "There's another!" or "Wow, look at that one." I also set up my camera and telescope, but I wasn't too successful with those. The wind that was helping to blow away the mosquitoes was strong enough to shake the camera and telescope.

I'll try to attach the best photo here and see if I can post it in the Photography section. The view was straight up towards the constellation Cygnus. You can see some of the Milky Way, and there is a faint streak of a Perseid in the lower left corner of the photo. More photos from this vacation are posted at my profile on Facebook.

The Perseids Prepeak

Posted on August 12, 2010 at 11:27 PM Comments comments (0)

I couldn't believe my eyes when I went up the roofdeck last night (Aug. 12).  I saw a meteor right away, and there above me is the Milky Way in all its glory! It was a moonless night too so every constellation was in full view.


Ooops. Perseids was promising indeed. It didn't fail us despite its prepeak day. After 1 AM, meteors came like every minute I think, so our screams (my brother and I) must have jolted the sleeping neighbors. It was my first time to see wavy meteors. There were fast streaks and long yellow ones as well. They came from all over. Saw a bolide too.


I couldn't concentrate because my brother kept on telling stories about history, science, other meteor showers they saw when they were kids, beliefs attached to meteors, etc. etc., so I missed on some that he saw. He said that they chased earthgrazers they saw along the river then when they were kids because they were told that if they catch these with the hands and/or swallow them, they'll acquire some superpowers (belief came from a Fernando Poe movie I think).


At 2:30 AM though, just when the shower is supposed to be at best viewing, my brother was already complaining of intense hunger. I was afraid to be alone (a house worker recently died), so I had to go down with him.


I just hope that tonight's sky will still be as clear as last night's. We may go to the farm where the sky will be in 360-deg view and have a picnic, or go up the roofdeck just the same. This time with eats and drinks.