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Category: Naked-Eye Astronomy


venus_laser

A green laser points at Venus, currently visible in the western horizon about an hour after sunset. This photo was taken on November 30, 2016 from the observing deck of Seven Suites Hotel Observatory in Antipolo.

Lately, you might have noticed what appears to be a very bright star prominently visible in the western horizon about an hour after sunset. This ‘star’ is in fact the planet Venus.

Venus is the brightest among the five planets (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn) that can be seen with the naked eye. The planet will continue to be prominent in the sky until around March 2017.

For featured photos, click here.
For tutorials on how to get started with astrophotography, click here.
For DIY astronomy projects useful for astrophotography, click here.
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© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)

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I have finally seen and photographed the zodiacal lights (diffused white glow in the night sky caused by the reflection of sunlight on dust particles orbiting the Sun) from Calapan City, in the island of Mindoro. Since the zodiacal lights’ glow is much fainter than the Milky Way and only visible in places with pristine dark sky, this phenomenon is very rarely observed by astronomy enthusiasts.

Zodiacal_Light_Calapan_July_2016

The zodiacal lights captured in this photo appears as a diffused white glow extending from the eastern horizon towards the plane of the ecliptic (in the direction of Pleiades and Aldebaran), as seen from the island of Mindoro, Philippines. This image was taken at around 4 am on July 7, 2016 (about 2 hours before the local sunrise), using a Canon 1100D DSLR, 18-55 mm lens f/3.5, at ISO 400 at 63 sec exposure.

For featured photos, click here.
For tutorials on how to get started with astrophotography, click here.
For DIY astronomy projects useful for astrophotography, click here.
To subscribe to this site, click here.
© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)

Manila Street Astronomers (MSA) celebrates Global Astronomy Month this April by conducting a series of free public observations in various places in Metro Manila. Below are some of the photos taken yesterday during the observation at the UP Town Center in Diliman, QC.

For more photos, click here.

MSA conducts regular public observations and will be holding another one tonight, April 24, 2016, from 7 to 9 pm, at the Alabang Town Center in Muntinlupa.

For previous observations, click here.
To keep posted on upcoming astronomical events, click here.

© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)

 

Try to spot the alignment of the five planets as the moon joins them this weekend!

January_30_2016_alignment

To view a larger image, click here. The event will be visible in the next few weeks, but the best dates to observe are from January 30 to February 6, when the moon joins the alignment. This image shows what the eastern sky should look like on January 30, 2016, at 5:30 am (Image generated using Stellarium).

The alignment of the five planets can be seen from anywhere in the country (and in most parts of the world). It should be visible for as long as you have a clear view of the eastern horizon, and there are no clouds to block your view. It also does not require any special equipment such as telescopes or binoculars. One may simply observe this event from home, from his or her own backyard, using nothing but the eyes.

To view the alignment, simply:

1. Wake up at 5:30 am (your local time) on January 30, 2016.
2. Face east (Silangan). If you do not know where east is, simply use a compass or ask someone to show you the direction where the sun rises (kung saan sumisikat ang araw).
3. Use the map to find the moon first. Once you’ve spotted the moon, it will be very easy to find the rest of the planets.
4. Find the “bright star” to the upper-right of the moon. That “bright star” is actually the planet Jupiter.
5. Find another “bright star” to the lower-left of the moon. That “bright star” is actually the planet Venus.
6. Use the map to find the rest of the planets: Saturn (yellow), Mars (red), and Mercury (white).

The alignment will still be visible in the next few weeks, but the best dates to observe are from January 30 to February 6, when the moon joins them (which makes it easier to locate the planets). As viewed from Earth, the planets and the moon appear to line up, but in reality, they are separated by vast distances.

Keep track of the ‘sky events’ that can be observed from your own backyard! To keep you posted on upcoming astronomical events, click here.
For previous observations, click here.

© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)

Jupiter_Venus_close_pairing_June26,2015

Starting today until the second week of July 2015, Venus and Jupiter can be seen like bright stars above the western horizon. No special equipment is needed to see the two planets. The photo above was taken at around 6:30 pm on June 26, 2015, from Rizal, Philippines. You, too, can see them for yourself. Read the instructions below on how to find Venus and Jupiter.

On the first and second week of July 2015, face west at around 6 to 7 pm and you will notice two bright ‘stars’ above the horizon. Those ‘stars’ are not actual stars, but rather, the planets Jupiter and Venus. You will see the two planets as a pair of lights in the sky (the brighter one is Venus and the dimmer one is Jupiter), very similar to what is shown in the photo above. You may observe the pairing of the two planets every day, but make sure to look at them on July 1, when the ‘gap’ between the two planets is smallest.

On July 18, the moon will join Venus and Jupiter to form one of the most interesting sights you can see in the sky: a ‘celestial triangle’. A recent ‘celestial triangle’ was seen on August 24, 2014. Your chance to see the next one will be on July 18, 2015. Simply face west at around 6 to 7 pm and see the moon, Venus, and Jupiter form a triangle as shown in the simulated image below.

Venus-Moon-Jupiter_July 18,2015

Venus, Jupiter, and the Moon form a triangle on July 18, 2015.

No special equipment is needed to see these events. Also, they can be viewed from anywhere in the Philippines. If you were able to witness the event or take a photograph of it, tell us about your experience by leaving a comment below. Clear skies!

To keep you posted on upcoming astronomical events, click here. Take a look at other similar, previously-observed planetary pairing and grouping here.

For featured photos, click here.
For tutorials on how to get started with astrophotography, click here.
For DIY astronomy projects useful for astrophotography, click here.
© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)

A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes through the Earth’s shadow, during instances when the Sun, the Earth, and the moon are in alignment. One such event will occur on April 4, 2015, visible from anywhere in the Philippines, from around 7:30 pm to 8:30 pm (Philippine Time).

How to Observe and What to Expect

In the Philippines, a total lunar eclipse will be observed–the moon darkens and turns red-orange for a few minutes as it briefly passes completely through the Earth’s shadow. Observing the eclipse requires no special equipment. The event may be observed from anywhere in the country provided that there is a clear view of the eastern horizon, and no clouds block the view of the moon. On April 4, 2015, simply face east from 7:30 pm to 8:30 pm and look for the rising moon. The best time to observe will be at around 8 pm, at eclipse maximum.

Lunar Eclipse April 4, 2015

View of the eastern horizon at eclipse maximum (8 pm Philippine Time or 12:00 Universal Time) on April 4, 2015. Simulated image generated using Stellarium. (Click to enlarge.)

The eclipse will also be visible in most parts of Asia, North and South America, and Australia. For more information, click here.

Join Upcoming Observations

Join me and fellow astronomy enthusiasts in observing various astronomical events! It is free and is open to everyone! Take a look at our previous observations.

Astronomical observations are geared towards sharing astronomy with the general public. To keep you posted on upcoming events, click here .

For previous lunar eclipse observations, click here.

© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)

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