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Nice... nice

Posted on September 15, 2010 at 10:40 AM Comments comments (1)

I just received this text from Engr. Dacanay after they met with Andre Germain and wife Lievan at a hotel in Ermita tonight (Sept. 15) to receive Andre's donation.


"Got it! Such a wonderful guy. Such a nice telescope. Such a nice organization. Such a nice evening. Such a nice feeling. Such and such and such... Last load."


Thank you very much, Andre. You made everyone at PAS happy.

Re Mars Same Size as Moon?

Posted on September 3, 2010 at 12:11 PM Comments comments (0)

From Sharon Fangonon


I thought someone ought to make a computation of how much closer Mars would have to move away from its current orbit in order to be as large as the Moon.


Let's see if I can figure it out with some back-of- the-envelope computations. The moon is around 27% the size of Earth and it's around 30 times as far as the Earth's diameter. Mars is 53% the size of Earth.


On the average, the Moon is 384,400 km from the Earth. At Mars' closest approach in 2003 (perihelic opposition), it was 55,758,006 km from Earth. At that distance it wasn't even a tiny disc to the naked eye. If it's a simple ratio and proportion, then Mars ought to be 750,553 kms away from Earth to be the size of the Moon.


The average distance of Mars from the sun is 227,700,000 km. Earth's is 149,500,000 km. That's a difference of 78,200,00 km. This means Mars' new orbit should have a radius of around 150,250,000 km. That's only 59 Earth diameters away instead of the normal perihelic distance of 4,370 Earth diameters away.


I don't know what sort of catastrophic event would push Mars closer to the sun. Maybe a huge meteor strike? It would probably be catastrophic for the solar system and Earth, too. Even if Earth doesn't get struck, I wonder what sort of havoc the gravitational pull of a very close planet would mean.



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:








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.

I Killed Fr. Galdon

Posted on August 12, 2010 at 9:40 PM Comments comments (0)


by Victor L Badillo, SJ


One evening, Fr. Asandas Balchand (Province Prefect of Health) came to me right after he had visited Joe Galdon across the corridor.


He said, “Joe is dying. He is just waiting for some one before he dies.” I had seen an ever increasing number of visitors and there was that feeling in the air when the end is near. No one wanted to come late. I remembered what our neighbor in Singalong, Dr Amparo Sanchez, told me. “I told my aunt. ‘Tia Cale, malaki na ang mga pamangkin ninyo. May mga asawa at anak na sila. Inalagaan ninyo ng mahusay. Maari na kayong magpahinga.” (Aunt Cale, your nephews and nieces are all grown up. They are married and have families. You brought them up good and responsible persons. It is alright to rest now.) In a short time she quietly passed away, though she was healthy. It was as if she had just willed to die.”

I thought of these coincidences: Balch coming to me. His message. What Amparo told me. Why me? Was Joe waiting for a close relative, a close friend? Was it I Joe is waiting for? I got the strength from the light to cross the corridor. I said to Joe, “Joe, I love you. I want you to live and get well. But you have suffered long and much. It is time to rest, to be with Jesus. Let me give you my blessing. May the almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit bless you. Amen” Joe has not been able to communicate in any way. He could not have heard what I said.


Before dawn, the visitor Joe has been waiting for came. I came to nudge him to death. Jesus to bring everlasting life. No Alzheimer’s disease, nor thrones nor principalities, nor anything over the earth or under the earth, could prevent him from heeding . “Let us home, Joe. To my father and to your father.”