Friday, November 14, 2014

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: OR


-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:

Download form here. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Why do the Sun and Moon appear to be the Same Size in the Sky?

Why do the Sun and Moon appear to be the Same Size in the Sky?

The Sun and Moon’s physical diameters are obviously different from each other, so what causes them to appear in the same size? It’s their ANGULAR DIAMETER that’s coincidentally almost the same. The angular diameter or apparent size of an object is its apparent diameter as seen by an observer in a specific point. Intuitively, the angular diameter of an object changes as the observer’s distance changes.

How do we derive the equation for the angular diameter?

Figure 1: Angular Diameter

With θd as the angular diameter, it’s easy to see that the tangent of the angular radius (half of the angular diameter) is equal to the actual radius (D/2) over the distance.

Solving for θd:
Therefore the equation for the angular diameter is:
Now we can use this to calculate for the angular diameters of the Sun and Moon.
Note that the distances used were the average distance, since orbits are elliptical. The Sun’s corona is excluded in the diameter.

For the Sun:                                                  For the Moon:

D = 1 392 684 km                                        D = 3474 km
l = 1.496 x 108 km                                        l = 384 405 km
θd = 0° 32’ 0.18’’                                          θd = 0° 31’ 4.07”

As we can see, their angular diameters are nearly the same with the moon being a little bit smaller, that’s why when perfectly in line during a solar eclipse in a given position, an annular or total eclipse could be seen; annular when the moon is a little bit farther and a total eclipse when the moon’s distance is enough to make its angular diameter equal or a little greater than the Sun’s.

By: Lanz Anthonee Lagman
       BS-Astronomy Student

International Observe the Moon Night

September 6, 2014
In celebrating the event “International Observe the Moon Night”, the Department of Earth and Space Sciences and BS-Astronomy Technology students conducted a lunar observation at RTU - Boni Campus quadrangle. The observation team was headed by Ms. Pauline Pearl Divinagracia and Mr.
Miguel Artificio, who were assisted by the 5th year OJT students, Jhoana Marie Tabios and Andrew Bayot. Other astronomy students were also there to help in conducting the public observation.

We started the observation by 6:00 PM PST. The sky condition was perfect by the time we started, with 0% cloud cover. We used 3 telescopes for this observation. The 10-inch newtonian reflector telescope, a 6-inch newtonian reflector telescope on a german equatorial mount and a 3-inch refracting telescope.
The lunar observation was attended by BS Astronomy students, and College of Arts and Science students and other students from various courses. A Natural Science instructor Ms. Rubelyn Narra invited her class to also participate the observation. While observing the moon, the observation team also showed the planets Mars and Saturn to the students which amazed them on how beautiful these planets are.

The nightsky has been perfect for moon observation until the clouds started forming at around 8:00 PM. We took advantage of the remaining hour for further discussions regarding the moon and nightsky observations. The troupe started packing up at 9 PM.

For more information about "Inomn (International Observe the Moon Night)" go to their website

Here are some of the pictures taken by the observation team during the observation.

Prepared by: Jhoana Marie Tabios, Andrew Bayot and Miguel Artificio

Friday, May 23, 2014

Image Reduction and Analysis Facility Lecture for B.Sc. in Astronomy Technology students

Image Reduction and Analysis Facility or simply IRAF is an astronomical software used mostly by professional astronomers for their research. Basically, the program is used for data reduction for further efficient analyzation. The three major tasks that can be done using IRAF are astrometry, photometry and spectroscopy. The lecturer was Sir Frederick B. Gabriana, participant from 2012's SOKENDAI Winter School- Exoplanets where they used IRAF to find an exoplanet in one of their activities.

Sir Bamm sharing all his knowledge about IRAF to Astronomy students.

Sir Bamm explaining the details of a FITS file.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

ZHR Computation

May 6, 2014                                                             Rizal Technological University

The summer's lecture series continued with a lecture entitled ZHR Computation. The talk was given by Sir Frederick (Bamm) Gabriana, the Distro Astro developer. Distro Astro is a Debian-based Linux distribution now growing its recognition in the astronomy community here and abroad. The audience are from incoming 2nd year B.S. Astronomy Technology students to incoming 4th year students. A report from one of the audience will be followed.

Detailed derivation of the Observed Hourly Rate (OHR)

ZHR formula together with a graph on how IMO plots the data gathered from people around the world.

Sir Bamm on explaining the difference between watching an event and observation.

Monday, April 28, 2014


Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower 2014, an underrated meteor shower that will give us 55 meteors per hour on the night before (May 5-6) or the night after (May 6-7).

For more information regarding this event, go to the RTU-ESS website.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Advanced Tutorial for Astrophysics and Quantum Physics by: Mr. Pecier Decierdo

On behalf of RTU Department of Earth and Space Sciences, and RTU-Astrosoc, we would like to thank Mr. Pecier Decierdo from The Mind Museum, and have a degree on MS Physics from UP Diliman, he conducted an advanced tutorial on Astrophysics and Quantum Physics on April 25, 2014 to BS Astronomy Students. His goal is to supplement the knowledge of the students regarding these topics. Sadly the lecture was cut short, but it will be continued next week Friday, May 2, 2014, 9:00 am to 12:00 noon.

This would not be possible without the support of the RTU-ESS department and its faculty.

Special thanks to Mr. Lanz Anthonee Lagman for arranging this lecture series.

 Mr. Pecier Decierdo discussing the basic principles of Quantum Physics

Mr. Miguel Artificio and Ms. Pauline Pearl Divinagracia presenting Mr. Pecier Decierdo a certificate of recognition,

Just some of the computations that was introduced to the BS Astro Students


Congratulations to Mr. Angelito Sing for graduating MS-Astronomy at the Rizal Technological University.

He is a High School teacher, Professorial Lecturer at the RTU and recognized AAVSO (American Association of Variable Star Observers) Variable Star Observer.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


Congratulations to the following students :

1. John Christian B. Lequiron
2. Harry Casimir E. Merida
3. Princess B. Tucio

John Christian B. Lequiron will be graduating as the first Cum Laude of BS Astronomy Technology, he is also one of the scholars of The City of Mandaluyong Collegiate Scholars (CMCS).

Princess B. Tucio and Harry Casimir E. Merida are now employees of The National Museum Planetarium working as research assistants. 

They will graduate on the 5th of May 2014 at "Tangahalang Pasigueno".

Congratulations once again! You make us proud!

John Christian B. Lequiron

 Harry Casimir E. Merida

Princess B. Tucio

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Second Day of the First National Astronomy Convention

Barranta, J.
Held at the Plenary Hall of the ITC Building, Rizal Technological University on the 21st of February, 2014, the second day of the First National Astronomy Convention started at 8:00 a.m. with a lecture about solar observation by Mr. Norman Marigza, a faculty member of the RTU Department of Earth and Space Sciences and head of the Solar Observation Program of the said department. He talked about the basics in observing the Sun, the closest star from Earth. After the lecture, the honoured guests and participants were led to the RTU quadrangle to have an actual experience on solar observation. 

Mr. Norman Marigza, Head of RTU-DESS Solar Observation Program

Then, it was followed by Dr. Reinabelle Reyes, a Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics fellow, who did an interesting talk about the phenomenon called gravitational lensing. Gravitational lensing is caused by any object which gravity is capable of bending light. The mysterious component of the Universe called Dark Matter can be detected thanks to gravitational lensing.

Dr. Reinabelle Reyes on her lecture about gravitational lensing

The lecture that followed was about planetary system dynamics, done by Dr. Thijs Kouwenhoven, a research professor at the Kavli Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Peking University. He discussed the mysteries behind planetary formation and dynamics, complete with some n-body simulations. 

Dr. Thijs Kouwenhoven, professor at KIAA, Peking University

Afterwards, Mr. Christopher Go discussed astronomical image acquisition and processing. He gave important tips on how to capture outstanding astronomical photos.

Asronomical Images Acquisition/Processing by Mr. Christopher Go

Mr. Go was then followed by Mr. Emanuel Sungging, a researcher at Lapan, Pusan Sains Antariska (Center for Space Science) in Bandung, Indonesia. Mr. Sungging’s talk was about space weather—its causes and consequences on our planet. Also, he showed the advances of Indonesia in space weather research.

Mr. Emanuel Sungging, researcher at Lapan, Pusan Sains Antariska, Indonesia

             Lastly, Dr. Dading Nugroho, a researcher at the Bosscha Observatory, Jawa Barat, Indonesia, discussed points on active galactic nuclei, an interesting subject that is recently getting more attention in areas of research.

Dr. Dading Nugroho, researcher at Bosscha Observatory, West Java, Indonesia

             After the lectures was the awarding of certificates to the guests and participants of the event, followed by the closing remarks by Dr. Thelma Ramirez, Director of the Research and Development Center of RTU.

Dr. Ramirez delivering her closing remarks
             The convention is a wake up call to let astronomy further develop and be exposed in this country. It also serves as RTU DESS' important stepping stone in its mission to spread astronomy here in the Philippines.

Day 1 of the First National Astronomy Convention

Hortelano, N. & Quinto, J.

              “Enticing Filipinos through Visions of Astronomical Progress” was the theme of the very first National Astronomy Convention that was held at the Plenary Hall, ITC Building of the Rizal Technological University on the 20th of February, 2014. Astronomy students, faculty members, and delegates from different fields of science gathered around for the said event.

                The convention started with the opening remarks of Dr. Merlene Bernal, RTU Convention Chairwoman, who said that the convention should serve as sound waves in inviting Filipinos to the field of astronomy. Dr. Bernal’s opening remarks was then followed by a welcome message led by Dr. Jesus R. F. Torres, President of RTU. “Astronomy started through small observations–the statement that opened his message which tackled the history of astronomy in RTU. According to Dr. Torres, his very own observations turned into research and publishable materials that inspired Dr. Bernardo Soriano, former chief of the Atmospheric, Geophysical and Space Sciences Bureau of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, to open up a course in astronomy. Moreover, Dr. Torres stated that astronomy is the mother of all sciences, since it doesn’t deal with astronomy alone but also with many other sciences. “You study astronomy and you become fruitful individuals”, he remarked as he closed his message. Afterwards, Dr. Catherine Castañeda, the Director-IV of the Commission on Higher Education, National Capital Region gave her keynote address. She tackled general problems in education that are also affecting the establishment of astronomy in educational terms. According to Dr. Castañeda the main element of a university to flourish in academic standards is research.

Dr. Bernal delivering her opening remarks
Dr. Jesus Rodrigo F. Torres, President of RTU
Dr. Catherine Castañeda, Director-IV of CHED NCR
                Moving on to one of the speakers of the event, Dr. Jett Aguilar, Vice President of the Astronomical League of the Philippines, began his discussion on solar observation with the question “Why should we observe the Sun?” He gave several reasons: first is that the Sun is the only star for which surface details are observable, second is that the Sun is dynamic, and lastly, one can observe the Sun in the comforts of his own backyard. Next, he focused mainly on explaining sunspots and how to observe the Sun with different filters. He then finished his discussion with a quick summary and asked the audience for some questions.

Dr. Jet Aguilar, Vice President of the Astronomical League of the Philippines
                The second speaker, Mr. Michael Bala, a weather specialist from PAGASA, did his talk entitled Stellar and Planetary Atmospheres. In his discussion, he compared the atmospheres of the planets in the Solar System. He also discussed the Goldilocks Zone-the habitable region of the Solar System or any planetary systems. Mr. Bala then discussed things about stellar atmospheres before closing his discussion. The audience were then allowed to ask him for questions.

Mr. Michael Bala, weather specialist from PAGASA
                Lastly, Ms. Johanna Erika Valdueza, Msc Geomatics Engineering (candidate) from the University of the Philippines, Diliman deliberated a talk about planetary geology. She started first by defining what planetary geology is. Moreover, she occupied the time discussing the relevance of planetary geology, formation of the Solar System, and comparative planetology. She then finished her discussion by giving an update about an intriguing apparent discovery of flowing salty water on the surface of Mars. An open forum proceeded.

Ms. Erika Valdueza, Msc. Geomatics Engineering candidate, UP Diliman
                After the convention, the participants and the delegates proceeded to the Astronomy Gallery Room of the Research and Development Building for the gala night.

    All in all, the first day of the First National Astronomy Convention was a huge success. May it further advance what RTU and other groups have already started—promulgating the wonderful science of astronomy throughout the Philippines.