With its 2008 International theme, "Exploring the Universe", the World Space Week was celebrated by the Philippine Astronomical Society (PAS) last October 4 at the Manila Observatory, Ateneo de Manila University, Loyola Heights, Quezon City.
The program, which started at 7p.m., was attended by 13 PAS members namely: Leogiver Mañosca, Leo Dy, Mitzi Garcia, Ronald Tanco, Ian Mark Allas, Francis Irlandez, Edna Azucena, Louniza Napay, Regina Justimbaste, Lulu Cabaluna, Anna Marie Labao, Nikita Bacalzo, and Hernan Dizon. 28 guests including students and teachers of
After PAS Vice President Hernan Dizon introduced the present PAS members to the guest participants, PAS President Edna Azucena then took the floor with her opening remarks. She explained what WSW is all about and how it is celebrated throughout the world. This United Nations-declared celebration, as she stressed, is the largest annual public space event on earth celebrated in more than 50 nations. She also expressed with gratitude the continuous engagement of PAS with this annual celebration and that the night's activity was recognized and included in the WSW website found in the URL:
The program then turned to the lecture portion, with the first headed by Ian Mark Allas on the topic of "Deep Space Navigation". The topic emphasized on how astronomers gather information in the deep space using the following as main sources of data: radial velocity, angular direction from earth, radial distance from earth, and velocity in plane-of-the- sky (the file can be accessed at philastrosociety yahoo groups) .
Leogiver Mañosca followed with a lecture on "Astronomy for Beginners" mainly intended for the guests. This introduced the students on how to be engaged with astronomy particularly in visual observations. Students were also delighted to know how even backyard astronomers can make astronomical contributions to the international scientific community. Moreover, Leo informed the students with the aid of Stellarium planetarium software how to distinguish a planet from a star, how the celestial sphere moves and how to locate for heavenly bodies.
The supposed main activity of the night, which was the stargazing session, did not push through because of persistent poor sky conditions that moment. However, this was replaced by a hands-on activity on using telescopes and binoculars facilitated by Francis Irlandez and Leo Mañosca. The students were first told of some concepts about these optical instruments before the engaging activity of assembling a 5" Newtonian on equatorial mount and 4" refractor on
alt-azimuth mount was done. As expected, everyone had a productive time especially when students were given the chance to do the step-by-step procedure of setting up the two telescopes. The finale was to focus the telescopes onto a distant wall pasted with a small
cut-out lettering and to compute for the telescope's magnification.
Pictures of the said event may also be viewed in World Space Week's
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