GAM2021-Philippines Week 1 & 2

By Reuel Norman Marigza posted 04-16-2021 14:50

Happy Global Astronomy Month! Here is the summary for the GAM participation in the Philippines for the first two weeks. The community participation from the Philippines are shared via Facebook in the group Global Astronomy Month - Philippines.

For the first week the month-long activities for GAM were launched. The Bedan Society of Young Astronomers (BSYA), a high-school astronomy club of the San Beda University, organized three activities for the duration of the month.

The first is an astrophotography contest with the group Lux et Umbra Societas. The second is Ballad of the Cosmos which is a song writing competition  in partnership with the Bedan Musicians Club, and Bedan Harmony. The last is an astro-meme campaign. The group has also been sharing online observations on Facebook. Another month-long activity  is an online campaign called Astronomiya Filipinas which aims to promote astronomy in culture, history, and heritage of various regions in the Philippine archipelago.

Actively posting for the first two weeks are the Indiana Aerospace University-Astronomy Society (IAU-AstroSoc), Baguio Astronomy Enthusiasts (BAE), Astronomy in Mindanao (AIM), and Pangasinan Youth for Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (PYDRRM). The PYDRRM has also been posting fun astronomy quotes, memes, facts, and infographics in their page.

The Manila Street Astronomers (MSA) held a GAM edition of their newest podcast Astro Sabado on April 10. BSYA also conducted a webinar on the said date. The Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (DOST-PAGASA) released a video version of their Astronomical Diary for April, and an informative video on distinguishing manipulated astrophotos. The Philippine Astronomical Society (PAS) held an Astro at Home episode entitled Saving the Night as a closing activity for the International Dark Sky Week.

PAS also presented last year's FB album lecture on Why We Need Dark Skies which I shared in the GAM-PH group. In April 14 the Rizal Technological University Astronomy Society and the RTU-Department of Earth and Space Sciences had a Virtual Solar Observation scheduled with one of their alumni Aldrin Gabuya of Al Sadeem Observatory in UAE. However given the unexpected cloudy weather in UAE they talked about astronomy and Ramadan, as well as entertained questions from the students. The following day RTU-AstroSoc held an Astrohaiku Competition. In April 16 the University of the Philippines Baguio Astronomy Society began their 2-day lecture series. I had the opportunity to speak with the group about Ethnoastronomy, while one of their members talked about Life in the Universe. Later today (April 17) the Likha-an Resource Center will also be having a discussion on the role of ethnoastronomy in the people of the pacific. 

There is currently a typhoon affecting the Philippines so the different scheduled virtual observations for the Mars-Moon Conjunction/Occultation might be affected. We are looking forward to images from those who will be graced by good weather in the country.

Aside from events we have also established social media groups for different aspects of astronomy in the Philippines in celebration of GAM. The first group is concerned with astronomy education: Astronomy Network for Teachers - Philippines. The group is moderated by the National Astronomy Education Coordinators of the new IAU-Office of Astronomy for Education. It serves as a network for teachers to discuss references, connect with astronomers, promote opportunities for in-service training, as well as relay news from IAU-OAE. Another group was established called Astronomy Enthusiasts of Mindanao, which aims to create a community network for enthusiasts and professionals in the region. Of the three major island groups of the Philippine archipelago, Mindanao has the least established community, with very few active groups. A third group was established as a working group for Philippine Ethnoastronomy.

These are the activities so far that have been coordinated with me in the first two weeks. We hope that more participation will come in the remaining days of GAM as we join the world in celebration - One People, One Sky!