The Philippine Astronomical Society

PROPELLING ASTRONOMY EDUCATION TOWARD THE ACHIEVEMENT OF SCIENTIFIC EXCELLENCE AMONG FILIPINOS

OBSERVATIONS

Observations made by PAS members under the sky

Camelopardalid Meteor Shower Observation

Feedback

 

Meteoric feedback from PAS guests who attended our recent Camelopardalid observation at Manila Observatory and the stargazing at Clark, Pampanga. Very heartwearming! Thank you very much.

1. From Rommel Alindao (Science teacher of a Islamic School in Dasmarias, Cavite) who texted me initially looking for a PAS t-shirt and eventually with more texts I found out he wants to be a PAS member.)

" Thank you. I had an unforgettable learning experience with the wonderful people of PAS, i feel proud and its an honor to be with your group. im a hskul science teacher."

2. Last night was my first time to see very closely the stars in the sky. It was an amazing experience to view what is in the sky at night. Very noticing the Planet Saturn which i clearly viewed even its ring. Me and my partner rheana enjoyed so much the presentation by sir Cris/Nan and coleman phils. Surely on their next event we will be joining them again... Thank you so much

Eugene Caballero
May 24-25
Clearwater Clark Pampanga Philippines

 

Comet Lovejoy                                               by Clem Brazil

After the Christmas festivities, it was pleasant to find clear night skies for a change and took this image on the 26th of December 2011 at 3:20 in the morning.  I knew that the comet Lovejoy discovered would still be around so I took advantage of the nice clear skies.

This image was taken from my backyard in the city of Gold Coast, Queensland. Initially I wanted to go to the beach to avoid the bright city lights but I wasn't sure I can drive. So I took some test shots of the comet and was happy to see that the comet can be seen just above my neighbor's roof, shame about the light pollution though.

The comet's head couldn't be seen at all, it's all tails - or headless, a headless comet! So it looks like someone shining a very bright torch on the sky, like one of those searchlights. Although to the naked eye the comet is very faint, one can barely see it with an averted gaze. Anyway, this is my very first comet to take a photo of.  Actually, this is my first comet full stop.

Set up on an unstable tripod so I can only get five usable images to stack. Exposure times for each was 3 seconds at ISO 200, Canon 50mm at f/1.8. Stacked in Deep Sky Stacker and curves done on Digital Photo Professional.Click to add text, images, and other content.

I uploaded it in this group and here is the link, I hope it works.

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/philastrosociety/photos/album/1247083100/pic/777204849/view?picmode=large&mode=tn&order=ordinal&start=21&dir=asc

 

Perseids 2011 Observations

From Edward Von de Lelis

I woke up around 2:30 AM though. I took a peak at the eastern sky while I was in
the hospital. Clouds were a bit thin; though the moon flooded the sky. I could
still see stars in the eastern sky. I'm not sure but I think I saw around 4-6
meteors in my 20-min stay. I was still groggy at the time and I don't know if
that was a product of my expectation or that meteors were faint, but not too faint
not to be seen.

 

 From Angelica Macatangay

I watched yesterday morning and saw dazzling 12-15 meteors. Wanting to see more, I set my alarm clock last night at 2AM. Then 2AM came and I was sound asleep. I woke up at about 4AM! But still, I saw 5 meteors. Five good ones despite a bright full moon.

Around 4:45AM, I saw a round light that was bright as the Jupiter. It was pretty up high. It was bigger in size compared to the brightest star I could see at the same time. It was going from north to southeast with a constant speed - not too fast, not too slow. I know it's not an airplane. Maybe the ISS? Though I checked it was below the horizon that time.What was that?

 

From Victoria Evarretta

The moon shone so brightly in Tuguegarao that even stars were not in sight. This condition was aggravated by thick clouds and the heavy light pollution in the city due to the city fiesta night activities going on. So I decided not to watch anymore and catch on sleep instead.

 

Through Rain and Fog                                              by John Nassr

It was drizzling, foggy, and damp as damp could be last night but my hunger to image managed to eke out one image of Jupiter through thick haze. Here's the best I could do under the circumstances:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/philastrosociety/photos/album/1599430906/pic/990164682/view?picmode=original&mode=tn&order=ordinal&start=21&dir=asc

(Imaged Oct. 8, 2011)

From Classroom to the Universe                  by Edward Von deLelis

Saturn after the Storms in Manila

Its been a rainy week here in Manila; classes and work were suspended because of Juaning and  Kabayan which a few (or a lot?) students enjoyed. I did  also enjoy the “holiday” but that could be my chance to stay up late and do some observations but obviously that type of vacation for a casual amateur astronomer could not enjoy .  :(

I’ve been itching to try and image Saturn for quite some time to test my Philips ToUcam which I acquired through sulit.com  but due to busy schedule and the wet seasons it was all but a plan. Then finally, just right after typhoon left the country,  I was able to get to see stars, moon and planets once again ! Yey! :D

Seeing conditions are limited greatly by fast moving clouds, strong winds coming from south and Saturn starting set early at around 40degrees above the horizon (9:00 Local Time).

Saturn UPL copy

 

 

 

City in Darkness                                               by Victoria Evarretta

Tuguegarao City was plunged into total darkness last July 3. There was a whole-day brownout, and power was expected to resume at 4 PM. But that 4 PM became 5 PM, 6 PM, 7 PM  and still no lights. So we didn't care to turn on our generator for we expected power to be restored anytime.

But when I went out at about 9:00 PM, I was literally so shocked at the magnificent sky that I kept exclaiming several times, "Afu, anni kasta na langi!" (God, how beautiful the sky is!) 

Up there was the Milky Way  - saw it instantly! And all constellations were just starkly emblazoned in a glorious sight. Scorpius, Sagittarius, Ursa Major, Bootes, Corona Borealis... name them, it was there to behold.  I've never seen the dark, dark sky so beautiful again.

I took my binocs, laser pointer, Starry Sky map, headlamp with red light from my room and positioned myself at the roadside for sky viewing until power is restored. But a not-too-drunk neighbor came along. Ooops, I didn't like the company and the intrusion.  I wanted to go up to our roofdeck but was scared to.

Too bad that I'm not into astrophotography or I could have caught the beauty for posterity.

This was the same experience I had in 2004 I think after coming from a birthday party at a place kilometers away from the city center. As soon as I got out of the party, the  dark sky beamed heavily adorned with all its jewels, and I can't help but exclaim at what I saw. That was when I decided to look for a telescope, which actually led me to joining the Philippine Astronomical Society.

I can't help but think of how the night skies were hundreds of thousands of years ago and how the prehistoric  communities must have wondered or glorified the heavens with rituals.

Too bad that most do not see or enjoy this celestial beauty that's free for everyone. They'd rather go to discos or bars or movies.

So much to do to promote astronomy. A long, long, long way to go still for PAS and for all other astronomical societies especially here in the Philippines.

 

Couldn't Resist                                     by Clem Brazil

Took some time out from my busy sched to make a quick post.

While driving one night a week ago through Pimpama to go to Jacob's Well, I couldn't help but notice that the sky was quite clear.  No clouds, no fog, and it was dark - really dark.  Dark because there was nothing for kilometers around but corn.  

Putting away any thoughts about snakes, I pulled over, took my camera from the boot, put it down against the car's windscreen, zoomed it out to 18mm and 800ISO at 20seconds exposure, then hurried back in the car.  Reaching home a few hours later, I looked at the result of the quick photo opportunity and here it is.

This is a wide view of the southern sky in the middle of April sometime near midnight.  Taken with a Canon DSLR.

                  

 

June 16 Total Lunar Eclipse

While other astronomical societies positioned themselves at the best locations to watch the June 16 total lunar eclipse, the Philippine Astronomical Society watched the event at the Manila Observatory roofdeck from 9 PM on June 15 to 5 AM on June 16.

PAS members, Manila Observatory staff, UP grads, and guests joined in the observation. Four telescopes were used to aid in the eclipse detail focusing and in the stargazing before the eclipse time that started at 1:24 AM and lasted until 7 AM. The total lunar eclipse's peak occurred at 4:12 AM. (Report by Mary Jane Plaza to be published in the May-June issue of the Appulse.)

The June 16 total lunar eclipse is considered the longest in 11 years, and it turned the moon blood red for 100 minutes of totality.

It is also considered a relatively a rare central lunar eclipse as the center point of Earth's shadow is on the disk. The last time a lunar eclipse was closer to the center of the Earth's shadow was on July 16, 2000. The next central total lunar eclipse will be on July 27, 2018 (PAGASA info).

The eclipse photos below were taken by Erika Valdueza, Anthony Urbano, and Henry So (unmarked photos). Other pictures can be viewed at Azrael Coladilla's link at

http://azraelsmerryland.blogspot.com/2011/06/total-lunar-eclipse-of-june-16-2011_8090.html

For group photos at the Manila Observatory roofdeck, please go to Photo Gallery section and click on the Total Lunar Eclipse Observation album.

 

 

 

 

 

Click to add text, images, and other content

Partial Lunar Eclipse in the Philippines

While other countries saw a total lunar eclipse on December 21, it was seen partially here in the Philippines starting at 5:32 PM. Amateur astronomers and astronomy enthusiasts were able to observe the spectacular event and capture the eclipsed moon through their cameras. Following is a collection of their partial lunar eclipse photos.

 

From John Nassr, Baguio City                             Moonrise Over the Mist 
 

My son John Michael and I positioned ourselves on a mountain side overlooking the north east to capture the partially eclipsed moon just as it rose over a misty Cordillera Mountain range.
             

               Partial Lunar Eclipse Dec 21, 2010 Nikon D40 200mm - Nassr

                       Partial Lunar Eclipse December 21, 2010 Nikon D40 200mm - Nassr

 From Erika Valdueza, Mandaluyong City

The sight of  the moon near the horizon has always been my dream to image. Last Tuesday night, God gave me this opportunity – I witnessed the partially eclipsed moon rising above the mountain ranges in the northeastern part of Metro Manila.

The Dec. 21st lunar eclipse in the Philippines was only partial (Philippine observers would only witness the last stages of the eclipse) and started as soon as the moon rose at 5:32pm.

I observed the phenomenon in Mandaluyong City, Philippines with my boyfriend and a friend. At 5:30pm, we already lost hope of seeing the lunar eclipse due to thick cloud cover. However, after 10 minutes, I caught a glimpse of a bright reddish light coming out of the clouds.  It was the eclipsed moon and I knew then we would be able to witness the last stages of the Dec. 21st total lunar eclipse. We observed from 5:30pm until 5:55pm.

My images were taken without a tripod (Yes, I forgot to bring my tripod, haha!). Luckily, I found a spot where I could image the eclipsed moon with my camera in a stable position. I thank God for gravity and friction, haha!

          

          

From Azrael Coladilla, Cavite City

It was hard to observe the partial lunar eclipse and it was cloudy in my location at Cavite. I waited until the sky cleared and let the strong winds moved the big clouds. Waiting for the moon to show up during sunset, I started to lose hope in seeing the moon. But after the sun's rays went out of the sky, a big orange moon showed up from nowhere. I took the above first photo at around 5:40pm; I was already late for the start of the partial lunar eclipse. At first I was not sure if that was a cloud or the shadow of the Earth, then I researched and saw some photos of our local astronomers, they too got the same photo and observation.

Then night time came fast. I reset the settings of my Olympus E520 and took the photo below, the moon became reddish and the shadow still visible.a PC218058

 Succeeding photos after 6 PM. Then clouds covered the eclipsed moon.

 a PC218097a PC218116

 

ISS Solar Transit   January 13, 2011

The International Space Station is the queen of the satellites, according to professional astronomers. For them as well, the ISS solar or lunar transit is such an artificial spectacle to behold.

The CalSky website has shared its calculations for when these solar/lunar transits can be best viewed around the world. One of these was the ISS solar transit on January 13, readily taken up by astronomy enthusiasts from the UP Astronomical Society (Diliman), RTU Astronomy Society, and the Philippine Astronomical Society as best date for observing/imaging said transit.

So the three societies gathered together at the Manila Observatory roofdeck on January 13. Anthony Urbano of PAS came as early as 6:30 AM to set up his telescope with the proper accessories. All the rest of the observers came later.

Unfortunately, as in the past, the groups failed to see the transit because of the heavy clouds. Again, nature prevailed. Anyway, these groups had fun despite the failed observation

As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.  See some below; the rest can be seen at the Photo Gallery.

 

 

Plotting the Geminids 2010                                  by Erika Valdueza

I observed the Geminid meteor shower at the Manila Observatory from 9:31pm of Dec. 14, 2010 to 1:36am of Dec.15, 2010.  I also continued my observation as soon as I arrived home from 1:45am until 3:23am.

According to PAGASA, the meteor peak activity would occur on the night of Dec. 14 until dawn of Dec. 15. My friends at the Manila Observatory decided to have their stargazing session and get-together on these days. Fortunately, the night sky during that time has a limiting magnitude of 5. Overall, I saw 66 Geminids – seven of these were fireballs – and some of them even witnessed 80 meteors! 

 

My Meteor Count every 30 minutes

Date

Time (in Philippine Standard Time)

Meteor Count

Dec. 14, 2010

9:31pm – 10:00pm

2

 

10:01pm – 10:30pm

3

 

10:31pm – 11:00pm

11

 

11:01pm – 11:30pm

5

 

11:31pm – 12:00am

14

Dec. 15, 2010

12:01am – 12:30am

7

 

12:31am – 1:00am

9

 

1:01am – 1:30am

8

 

1:31am – 2:00am

3

 

2:01am – 2:30am

0

 

2:31am – 3:00am

1

 

3:01am – 3:30am

3

 

 

Total: 66

 

I chose to record my observation by plotting than taking pictures because I want to achieve a different approach in meteor observing. Though my plot wasn’t intended for pointing what particular stars the meteors seemed to come from, its main purpose was to record the meteors’ visual brightness and direction in the sky.  My data is quite accurate in determining how the meteors radiated away from constellation Gemini - most meteors appeared in constellations Orion, Gemini, Canis Minor and Canis Major

 

 

 

Looking at my timetable and plots, the maximum peak activity occurred from 10:31pm to 1:00am. The Geminids appeared every 2-5 minutes at 10:31pm to 11:00pm and 11:31pm to 1:00am. Note that the constellation Gemini was 40 to 70 degrees above the horizon during the estimated maximum activity.

The Geminid meteor shower has never disappointed me since 2007. These meteors are always extremely bright and display over a hundred (with or without a moon) overnight! Moreover, its celestial beauty has always enticed me to keep looking up and appreciate the heavens. I am aware that I still have a long way to learn how to properly record astronomical observations and make it scientifically useful. For now, I’ll just continue observing and share to everyone my love for astronomy. J

To the stars!

Comet 103P Hartley                                              by John Nassr

After two previous failed attempts several weeks ago, I was finally able to image comet 103P/Hartley last night at a location nearly half a degree away from where it was predicted to be by the Harvard Minor Planet and Comet Ephemeris Service! It is an early evening object currently glowing at magnitude 10.2 in the constellation Andromeda. It is forecasted to brighten to near naked eye magnitude 5 brightness by October 28 when it approaches closest to Earth. This comet should be quite interesting to observe to see how it evolves in the coming weeks!

http://stardustobservatory.org/v2/images.php?page=details&id=256

                                       

Geminid Meteor Shower observation (December 14-15, 2010)                      by Sharon Fangonon

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

Halloween Hartley                                         by John Nassr

Comet Hartley is now receding from both the Earth and Sun after perihelion on October 28. The comet is large. Its glowing green coma extends nearly the diameter of a full moon in this image with an 86x106 arc minutes field of view. However, a tail is not as prominent as I expected for a comet whose orbit just passed closest to the Sun. It is perhaps because this closest approach was still a distant 1.6AU and not near enough to heat up its nucleus and produce a vigorously streaming tail. One AU or Astronomical Unit is the distance of the Earth from the Sun. (Please click link below for the image.)

 http://stardustobservatory.org/v2/images.php?page=details&id=271           

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Click to add text, images, and other content

Jupiter's GRS and Red Jr in conjunction                 by John Nassr

Jupiter's Great Red Spot (GRS) and smaller storm "Red Jr." are currently passing in conjunction of each. The image taken under fair 5/10 seeing, probably represents the resolving limit of a 5" telescope working at f/48. (Click link below for the image.)

http://stardustobservatory.org/v2/images.php?page=details&id=254 

Food for the Hungry Imager                                    by John Nassr

Lagoon Nebula

            by Clem Brazil

Last Sunday was a very clear night and I siezed that opportunity to test my modified DSLR on the Lagoon Nebula.  I have posted the image on my blog.  I didn't correct for PE but I managed to take quite a few RAW samples and through some software magic with Deep Sky Stacker and GIMP, I was able to get this image.  Doing the PEC doesn't guarantee that my mount (EQ3-2) would behave any better anyway.  So the total exposure was only 12 minutes at one minute each.  It was taken with a 6 inch Newt at f6.7.

Gallia Occultation Project Completed

The Asteroid Gallia Occultation Project was finally completed on October 1 after the occultation time at 4:13:43 AM.

Our stalwart volunteer 3-member five teams from the RTU Astronomy Society, UP Astronomical Society, Quezon City Science High School, and Philippine Astronomical Society braved the cold and dark from midnight to 4:30 AM at their respective stations in San Fernando, La Union through San Esteban Ilocos Sur.

The whole four teams located at the low-lying coastal areas were all clouded out though due to the prevailing cloudy-sky weather condition and scattered rain showers brought about by a low- pressure area somewhere in the Visayan Region.

Although Team Echo leader John Nassr stationed at Baguio City was able to record the occultation event, the documentation was considered a miss by NASA's Paul Maley because no decrease in Star Zeta's magnitude was observed. It is thus concluded that Asteroid Gallia had a significant northward shift from its occultation path as predicted by professional astronomers.

For further details, please read the Gallia Occultation Report (click link at Home Page) and the feature article on Gallia project at the July-August issue (pages 6-8) of The Appulse found in this website. Pictures can be seen at the website's Photo Gallery Section Gallia Observation Photo Album.

 

Perseids Observation at Manila Observatory

The Philippine Astronomical Society had a free public viewing of the Perseid meteor shower peak and planetary grouping last August 13 at the Manila Observatory roofdeck, Ateneo University campus, Loyola Heights.

The observation was conducted by Jake Irlandez and Hernan Dizon who brought two telescopes for viewing the planetary grouping of Venus, Saturn, Mars, and Mercury. Those who attended were PASers, UP students, their families, and guests.

Despite a moonless night, the supposedly expected 60 to 100 meteors an hour did not materialize due to the clouds covering the night sky. Nevertheless, it was a fun-filled occasion for bonding. Besides, who doesn't want the extra treat of seeing Jupiter aside from the planetary grouping and the meteors?

 

NEW SUPERNOVA IN M51                          (News posted by John Nassr at PAS Forum)

AAVSO Special Notice #241      

New Supernova in M51

June 3: A new supernova in M51 was discovered by A. Riou and confirmed by several sources, including the Palomar Transient Factory (Silverman et al., ATEL 3398). It is located at 13:30:05.08 +47:10:11.2 J2000 and has a magnitude of about 13.5. Nice images of the supernova can be found at: http://6888comete.free.fr/fr/imageSN.htm PTF also obtained a spectra from Keck, indicating that this is a type II supernova with a relatively blue continuum with P-Cygni profiles in the Balmer series. This is a unique event, because it occurs in a galaxy that is imaged almost constantly. There must be many photos available that show the rise of this SNe, so the data-mining opportunity is obvious. It is transiting at local twilight and should be observable for northern hemisphere observers for several months. A new APASS sequence should be uploaded soon. We recommend taking nightly monitoring images in B and V for CCD observers, along with visual estimates, until the supernova is no longer visible. Here is an excuse to take the 10 millionth image of M51!                                   (AAVSO - American Association of Variable Star observers)

 

Comet Garradd 2009 P1                                           by John Nassr

http://stardustobservatory.org/upload/comets/GarraddC2009P1July232011N16f45ST10xmeLRGB6336x2min-Nassr_20110723100254.jpg

A 36-min exposure of Comet Garradd C2009 P1 using  a 16-inch scope and capturing its color as well. Imaged July 23, 2011 at Stardust Observatory.

      http://stardustobservatory.org/upload/comets/GarraddC2009P1July22201177EDf5516HR2x5min-Nassr_20110722103027.jpg

 A 10-min exposure shows a southward pointing fan-tail below a distinctly bright nucleus and coma. Garradd is around 45 degrees above the eastern horizon by 11pm and is easily visible even with small telescopes. It is currently around magnitude 8.5. It will steadily brighten in the coming months and is expected to reach magnitude 5 in January 2012. 

Stargazing with the Ateneo League of Physicists     by Anthony Urbano

As part of their annual Physics Week, the Ateneo League of Physicists hosted a stargazing activity last February 3 as facilitated by the Philippine Astronomical Society.

Participants first attended a lecture by Engr. Camilo Dacanay and were later treated by Engr. Ronald Tanco and Anthony Urbano with telescopic views of the moon, the planets Venus, Jupiter, Mars, and Saturn, and some star-hopping with the constellations.

 

                The Ateneo League of Physicists with Ronald Tanco and Anthony Urbano.

                       Photographing the moon and the Orion nebula using a telescope.

                         Viewing the moon and planets (Jupiter, Mars, Saturn, and Venus)

 Moon image taken by Moses Elijah Coriage using a Canon 500D mounted directly to a telescope.

 Image of M42 ir the Orion nebula taken by Moses Coriage using a DSLR camera mounted to a telescope.

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