For people living in the National Capital Region, the bright lights of the metropolis are nothing new but a comfort of the ever industrialization of the capital. The fast pacing changes in the landscape of the cities is a constant reminder of the country’s competitiveness in the global arena. However, the sparkling lights are not always diamond and beauty. There are cases that shinning, and the shimmering of lights can take away the beauty of the night sky.
Figure 1 : The Philippines at Night
Source : https://blue-marble.de/nightlights/2012
With the growing economy and the modernization of different cities, people rely on the security and comfort of the artificial lighting at night. Streetlights are utilized to illuminate late night workers, advertisements are flashed with blinding lights to capture the interest of consumers, concerts and events use beautiful lighting effects to create a festive atmosphere, and even some households use lighting systems to illuminate their own beautiful gardens and landscapes.
The excessive illumination from the artificial lights contribute to Light Pollution. According to the Dark-Sky Association, Light Pollution is “the inappropriate or excessive use of artificial light.” This is common especially to a more industrialize and modern location where lights are always, if not, sometimes, inappropriately used. The light comes from excessive illumination from outdoor artificial lights such as streetlights, advertisement lights, building lights, car lights, residential areas, and effects like skyglow, light trespass, and glare, and other sources that have a misdirected light.
Figure 2: The Milky Way With and Without Excessive Light
All in excess can bring harm not only to human beings but also to the environment. There are organisms that depend on the rhythmic cycle of the night and day. Due to the extreme illumination from the artificial light sources, organisms that depend on the darkness of the night are gravely affected.
Light Pollution causes the birds to be disoriented and blinded by the glare. This resulted for them to hit building walls and windows, which led to their demise. Some animals depend on moonlight. With the misdirected light, animals tend to mistake them as natural lighting thus, causing ill effects on their biological processes.
With the washing of the star lights, there is difficulty in seeing the beauty of the night sky. Humankind loses their connection with the stars, the moon, and celestial objects. People can only see less stars and less astronomical objects thus, there is less appreciation in the magnificence of the cosmos.
There are different ways to reduce Light Pollution. The following are some of tips to help Mother Earth in your own ways:
Figure 3 : Different Components of Light Pollution
1. Educate yourself. Read and study various ways on how to reduce light pollution.
2. Share your learning. A better way to apply your learning is by sharing the knowledge you gained. Talk with your neighbors and friends. Share the different tips in decreasing excessive lighting. Educate them by sharing the benefits and harmful effects of light pollution. Some of the things to share: a. Turn-on lights when needed and in necessary areas. b. Use lights that can illuminate with enough light. Do not use too much light. c. Use lights that have less blue light emissions. d. Redirect light downwards.
3. Check your home. Apply what you learned in your own home. Check your own fixtures and replace them with environmentally friendly lighting system. If you have an outside lighting, make sure that the light is directed downward and directed properly to avoid wasteful illumination contributing to light pollution. 4. Avoid landscaping lighting. There are people who use night lights for their garden and landscapes. However, the use of inappropriate lighting adds to excess artificial light. Artificial night lights also affect the biological process of the plants and other organism living within the area. If one insists, make sure that the lighting is directed downward at a proper angle to avoid light trespasses and glares.
5. Communicate with your Community Leaders. Streetlamps are placed for the safety of the community, however, there are lighting systems that can contribute to light pollution. If you observed that the streetlights are contributors of light pollution, kindly report to your community leaders and present ways to reduce excessive lighting.
With these simple ways, one can contribute to reduce light pollution and with the effort of the humankind, who know, it’s possible that the beauty of the Milky Way can be seen again in the night sky.
On April 7-8, 2020, the world will witness again the Supermoon. In the Philippines we can observe this astronomical phenomenon at 2:09AM PST (Philippine Standard Time) on April 8, 2020. The full moon in the Philippines will occur at 2AM PST with 99% surface illumination.The Moon will have its closest approach (perigee) with a distance of 356,906.8 Km.
Where did the names of the Moon come from?
Figure 1: Perigee and Apogee of the Moon (NASA/JPL/USGS/Encyclopaedia Britannica)
The previous month’s full moon name is Worm Moon and this month's name is Pink Moon. The full moon names came from different cultures. The old Farmers’ Almanac gathered all information and came up with this list of names. These names came from Native Americans of North America and is culturally not applicable in the Philippines. They used these names to track the seasons of the year.
Figure 2: Wild Ground Phlox (Adobe Stock)
What does Pink Moon mean? According to the old Farmers’ Almanac, Pink Moon’s name came from an herb moss pink, or wild ground phlox. It's one of the first spring flowers observed during the seasonal change. Different cultures also name the Full Moon of April as Sprouting Grass Moon, Egg moon, and Fish moon.
Figure SEQ Figure \* ARABIC 3: rising Moon at Lick Observatory atop Mt. Hamilton, March 2012 (Baldridge, R. Sky and Telescope)
Some people think the Moon will turn pink due to its name. However, it will not happen. The only time the Moon can be observe to have a reddish color is during a Total Lunar Eclipse, and when the Moon is near the horizon it will have an orange coloration and will be observed bigger. This is due to the interaction of light with the Earth’s atmosphere. The atmosphere scatters that light that passes through. In the horizon where the maximum thickness of the atmosphere is located, the blue spectrum of light is absorbed, and the red light is emitted.
Time lapse of the Partial Solar Eclipse occurred last March 9, 2016. Set of images were taken at Rizal Technological University, Boni Avenue, Mandaluyong City and approximately aligned. Few clouds were present during the course of imaging that makes the color of the Sun change in some frames.
[Details of the setup] Orion Atlas EQ-G mount Canon EOS 550D ISO 400 1/250s exposure
T.A.L.A The Art of Learning Astronomy
Rizal Technological University-Astronomy Society's (RTU-AstroSoc.) under the Department of Earth and Space Sciences of Rizal Technological University launches the new and fun way of learning astronomy for the public to promote the said field of science in the Philippines with the following objectives:
To have an outreach program which will enhance public astronomy awareness.
To be able to establish a name that would be easier and remarkable to remember.
To exploit astronomy education as a learning process with arts and sciences.
To show the beauty of the Universe not only through lectures but also through observation by means of star gazing activities.
RTU Signs a Memorandum of Agreement with the National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand
Most of the world of science is powered by collaborations between different scientific communities. These bonds help with the exchange of ideas and technologies which, in turn, makes scientific research more engaging, innovative and worthwhile.
Such is a vision that a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Rizal Technological University and the National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand (NARIT) last May 15, 2015.
Dr. Jesus Rodrigo F. Torres, the president of RTU, together with Dr. Edna Aquino, RTU’s Vice President for the Research and Extension Services; Engr. Ricardo N. Nasuli, the Dean of the RTU College of Engineering and Industrial Technology; and the Department Head of the RTU Department of Earth and Space Sciences Dr. Ruby Ann Dela Cruz headed to Thailand last May 13, 2015 for a three-day stay at Chiang Mai Province where both the NARIT and the Thailand National Observatory (TNO) is located.
Afterwards, on May 15, 2015, the MoU Signing Ceremony was held inside the NARIT premises. In the event, Dr. Torres did a concise speech about the past and current astronomy-related events held by RTU. He also discussed the current research and extensions of RTU, together with his future plans for the University.
The MoU is aimed for collaborative research, training of both teachers and students, curriculum development, as well as for the joint effort in transferring knowledge and awareness in astronomy between NARIT and RTU.
We from the RTU are deeply thankful to Dr. Boonrucksar Soonthornthum and all of the officials of NARIT for having a MoU with us. We are heartily looking forward for the future outcomes brought upon by the new partnership.
6th Southeast Asian Astronomy Network Conference Invitation
The SEAAN 2014 will be held at Rizal Technological University, Mandaluyong City, Philippines on 16-17 December 2014. The event will be sponsored by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST)-Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) and the Rizal Technological University (RTU).
In addition to the National Focal Points and 20 participants from the SEAAN member countries. Interested local astronomy organizations should register online and are advised to observe the important dates (November 19, 2014 deadline of subsmission of registration form).
The Conference aims to promote cooperation in the field of education, research and popularization of astronomy among Southeast Asian member countries. It will be divided into business and scientific sessions. The business session will be the 6th SEAAN Meeting and will be held on 16 December 2014. The scientific session will be held on 17 December and will include plenary and invited talks and oral and poster presentations.
Please download and complete the registration form below and submit to Ms. Ruby-Ann dela Cruz, Head, Department of Earth and Space Sciences, RTU through her email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Note* -There is no registration fee. -Travel expenses and accommodations will not be shouldered by the organizers. -You will receive an email of confirmation if you have successfully registered as participants.
For more information please visit: http://www.pagasa.dost.gov.ph/events-archive/1475-6th-southeast-asian-astronomy-network-conference
There will be a Total Lunar eclipse on October 8, 2014. According to PAGASA; "In Manila, the Moon will rise at 5:34 p.m. on 8 October and will set at 6:16 a.m. on 9 October," First contact would start on 5:17PM PST (Below the Horizon), the maximum eclipse would happen on 7:55 PM and the eclipse would end at exactly 9;32 PM PST.
RTU Astronomy students and Faculty will be observing this event at RTU quadrangle, please feel free to join us.
The Solar Observation Program is an official participating partner to the International Sun-Day celebration on June 22, 2014. It is a global non-profit event to celebrate the Sun and share your personal vision of what our life giving star means to you.
Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower 2014
The Eta Aquarid meteor shower is an underrated shower compared to more popular ones like the recent Lyrids. But it actually has one of the highest ZHRs, after the Geminids, Quadrantids, and Perseids.
It’s a variable shower, so its ZHR at maximum varies from year to year. It can be as low as 40 and as high as 85. This variability is periodic though and can be predicted.
The IMO predicts a peak ZHR of about 55 meteors per hour this year.
The shower peaks when the earth is at a point in its orbit that the sun is at ecliptic longitude λ⊙ = 45.5°. This year it occurs at 2014 May 06 07:14 UTC. This is about 2014 May 06 15:14 in Philippine Standard Time.
Since the peak occurs at daytime in the Philippines, it is fine to observe either the night before (May 5-6) or the night after (May 6-7). This is a broad shower so it would not make much difference if observation is not done during its peak.
The radiant rises at 01:32 AM and reaches its highest altitude in the sky at 7:33 AM, at which it will be 74° above the astronomical horizon. This is already morning so we can expect increasing observed hourly rates during the dawn.
The First Quarter Moon will not interfere though. The moon sets at about 11:16 PM even before the radiant will rise.
The Zenithal Hourly Rate (ZHR) at its peak is 55 meteors per hour. As usual, do not expect to see this amount. Assuming a limiting visual magnitude of 5.0 in a moonless urban Metro Manila and a population index of 2.4, radiant altitude of 74°, and zero cloud cover, the Observed Visible Hourly Rate should be about 14.2 per hour.
IMO Code: LYR Active Period (FWHM of ZHR): 2014 April 16-25 Stream Maximum: 2014 April 23 01:48 AM (2014 April 22 17:48 UTC) ZHR at Stream Maximum: 18 Lambda of Sun at Stream Maximum: 32.32° Radiant Location: RA 18h 04m, Dec +34° Radiant Transit Time: 2014 April 23 03:57:16 Altitude at Transit: +70° 39' Population Index (r): 2.1
The Lyrid meteor shower peaks on Wednesday morning at 1:48 AM. The best night for overnight observation is therefore Tuesday night to Wednesday morning.
Though called Lyrids, the radiant at RA 18h 04m, Dec +34° is actually in Hercules.
The radiant reaches its highest altitude in the sky at 3:57 AM, at which it will be 70° above the astronomical horizon.
The Last Quarter Moon may interfere though. The moon rises at 12:41 AM and transits at 6:39 AM with a magnitude of -9.9 and 44.3% of its disk illuminated. It's about 60° from the Lyrid radiant.
The Zenithal Hourly Rate (ZHR) at its peak is 18 meteors per hour. However, do NOT expect to see this amount. Assuming a limiting visual magnitude of 4.5 in urban Metro Manila with a population index of 2.1, radiant altitude of 70°, and zero cloud cover, the Observed Hourly Rate should be about 3.8 per hour.
Yup, 3.8 not 18. (PM me if you want to know how it is computed)
The Lyrids are known for their fireballs. They may not be as many as the Geminids, but they are long, bright and fast.
By: Bamm Gabriana, RTU-ESS Faculty
RTU celebrates National Astronomy Week
For more information go to : http://rtuastrosoc.blogspot.com/
22 Degree Moon Halo seen in the Philippines
Specifically, the type of cloud that produces halos is called "cirrostratus nebulosus". The nebulosus species is featureless and uniform and is formed by gently rising air. It is shaped like a blanket. If the sun or moon shines through this kind of cloud, a halo is formed.
Cirrus clouds are made up of ice crystals that are usually hexagonal in shape. These kind of crystals usually refract light by 22 degrees. Thus it forms a halo 44 degrees in diameter.
Because of the different wavelengths, the inner side of the halo is usually reddish while the outer side is usually bluish. The red halo is 21.54° in radius and the blue halo is 22.37° in radius. That's why it looks somewhat like a rainbow around the moon.
Expect more moonbows in the days to come.
On average, the coldest day of the year in Metro Manila occurs on Jan 26, so it is still getting colder for the next two weeks.
It happens during cold weather because ice crystals in the upper atmosphere refract the moonlight. Hexagonal ice crystals in thin cirrostratus clouds bend the moonlight 22 degrees, forming a halo 44 degrees in diameter.
And no, it doesn't mean bad weather. Lunar halos are common during January, the coldest month of the year, but on average January also has very little rainfall. Therefore our climate patterns show little correlation between moonbows and rainfall.
By: Bamm Gabriana, RTU-ESS faculty
Comet ISON fades away
The white circle highlights Comet ISON's remnants toward the edge of the viewing field for the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory's LASCO C3 ultraviolet detector. The sun's glare is blocked out by an occulting disk, but a solar storm can be seen emerging toward the lower edge of the frame.
Remnants of the object once touted as the "comet of the century" passed through the viewing the field of Solar and Heliospheric Observatory in the wake of Thursday's close encounter with the sun — and as it passed, the bright spot that survived grew dimmer and dimmer.
ISON's obituary had been written before, on Thanksgiving Day, when a different sun-watching satellite known as the Solar Dynamics Observatory failed to see the comet as it was due to pass within 730,000 miles (1.2 million kilometers) of the sun.
for more information go to: http://www.nbcnews.com/science/comet-isons-leftovers-fade-away-right-satellites-eyes-2D11674277
NASA/ESA/SOHO and NBC News
COMET ISON Update
Comet ISON is brightening as it approaches the sun. Estimates by experienced observers put the comet between 10th and 11th magnitude. That's too dim to see with the unaided eye, but bright enough for color photography through mid-sized backyard telescopes.
The comet merits watching in the weeks ahead. While many experts believe ISON is on track to become a bright sungazer in late November, astronomer Ignacio Ferrin of the University of the Antioquia Institute of Physics in Colombia predicts a different outcome. He believes Comet ISON is about to disintegrate. The light curve of ISON, Ferrin argues, resembles those of other comets that have fallen apart prematurely. If he's right, the "Comet of the Century" could turn into a century-class fizzle
for more information go to: http://spaceweather.com/
Image of Comet Ison Astronomy Picture of the Day http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap131116.html
Most Earth-Like Planet found!
HIP 102152 Could Be Host To An Earth-Like Planet, Astronomers have discovered the oldest solar "twin," a star identical to the sun. This star, 4 billion years older but nearly identical to our sun, lets astronomers look into the star's ageing process.HIP 102152, located in the constellation Capricornus, helped astronomers solve one mystery about the star at the centre of our solar system. Their research was published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters. A solar twin, according to ESO, has a similar temperature, mass and chemical composition to our sun. These twins can serve as a snapshot of a particular time in the star's history, giving astronomers new insights to how a sun-like star ages. HIP 102152 is approximately 8.2 billion years old, whereas our sun is 4.6 billion years old.
Recent news have been mentioning the upcoming flip of the Sun's magnetic poles. What is a magnetic flip and how exactly does it happen?
Our sun transfers energy from the core to the radiative zone, and then to the convective zone, and out to the photosphere (the visible disc of the sun). The vertical motion of the plasma in the convective layer causes the magnetic field lines to twist into flux tubes. When the flux tube increases its energy it then rises as an active region. The magnetic field lines arch from these areas from one polarity (+) to the other (-). The magnetic polarities of each active region is similar but reversed in each hemisphere.
Peak of shower: August 12-13, 2013. Zenith Hourly Rate = 60
The Perseids are a prolific meteor shower associated with the comet "Swift-Tuttle". The Perseids are so-called because the point from which they appear to come, called the radiant lies in the constellation of Perseus.The stream of debris is called the Perseid cloud and stretches along the orbit of the comet Swift-Tuttle. The cloud consists of particles ejected by the comet as it travels on its 130-year orbit. Most of the dust in the cloud today is around a thousand years old. However, there is also a relatively young filament of dust in the stream that was pulled off the comet in 1865.The Perseid meteor shower has been observed for about 2000 years, with the earliest information on this meteor shower coming from the Far East.
Next Lunar Eclipse in the Philippines is on October 19, 2013
On October 19 2013, a Penumbral Lunar Eclipse will occur, but it will not be visible because it will happen while the Moon is still below the horizon.
Time of first contact for the Penumbral Eclipse 05:53 PST. 1.6° below the horizon Time of last contact for the Penumbral Eclipse 09:48 PST. 52.2° below the horizon
A TOTAL PENUMBRAL ECLIPSE is a lunar eclipse occurs when the moon becomes completely immersed in the penumbral cone of the Earth without touching the umbra.
It is a narrow path for the moon to pass within the penumbra and outside the umbra. It can happen on the Earth's northern or southern penumbral edges. In addition size of the penumbral is sometimes too small to contain the moon. Its width is equal to the angular diameter of the sun at the time of the eclipse, and the moon's angular diameter is larger than the sun over part of its elliptical orbit, depending on whether the eclipse occurs at its nearest (perigee) or farthest point (apogee) in its orbit around the earth.