Month: June 2017

HUAWEI ASTROPHOTOS

HUAWEI ASTROPHOTOS

Posted June 16, 2017

I have an old Huawei G6-U10 which I used for several years until I found the need to upgrade to phone with a bigger internal memory. I eventually bought a phone (not an I-Phone) that has an upgraded camera which I can use for take more astrophotos. I have always been fascinated by conjunctions between the planets and the Moon, or between the planets themselves. Here is one of such conjunctions between the full Moon and Jupiter I have taken with my Huawei on April 11, 2017 in Pasig City at 20:58. This is the first full Moon of spring. According to Bruce McClure of earthsky.org .

“For the Northern Hemisphere, we often call the first full moon of springtime the Pink Moon, to celebrate the return of certain wild flowers. Other Northern Hemisphere names for this full moon are Egg Moon, Sprouting Grass Moon, or Easter Moon.

In the Southern Hemisphere, this is the first full moon of autumn. It’s the Southern Hemisphere’s Hunter’s Moon – the full moon that immediately follows the Harvest Moon. One month ago, the full moon on March 12, 2017, was the Southern Hemisphere’s Harvest Moon because it was the closest full moon to their autumn equinox. The Harvest and Hunter’s Moons usher in a procession of moonlit nights, because the moon rises fairly soon after sunset for several nights in a row. If you live at middle or far southerly latitudes, look for the moon to shine from dusk till dawn for a few days in succession.”

Jupiter even shows hints of its equatorial bands in this image! Jupiter in this image is in the constellation Virgo near Spica. It will remain near Spica for many more months to come. The opposition of Jupiter, or its nearest distance to the Earth this year, was on April 7. Spica formed an isosceles triangle with the Moon and Jupiter at the time this picture was taken but it was not captured by the Huawei.

The Photograph below was taken through the Huawei on March 22, 2016 at 21:30 in Pasig City. Jupiter was at the constellation Leo at this time. Jupiter was about two weeks past opposition but was still at magnitude -2.5, brighter than the brightest star Sirius. The following photographs from Bogota, Colombia and Bristol, Tennessee are taken from earthsky.org.


Moon and Jupiter on March 21, 2016 as captured by Rodolfo Useche Melo in Bogotá, Colombia.

Moon and Jupiter on March 21, 2016 from Lester Fandel in Bristol, Tennessee.

The following photograph was taken at 05:03 in Bacolod City on October 25, 2015. This was in the Iglesia Ni Cristo chapel compound just before the worship service which would start at 5:45. I was with Coach Arlene Rodriguez when this picture was taken. These are the planets Venus (the brighter planet in the picture) and Jupiter. Mars could not be seen in the photograph.


A zoomed out view of the planetary trio from John Chumack’s observatory in Dayton, Ohio on October 25, 2015. Credit and copyright: John Chumack. From www.universetoday.com

This last photograph was taken through the Huawei on May 15, 2016 at 20:15 in Pasig City. They are in the constellation Leo at this time.

Categories: President's Corner

WHEN DO WE FIRST BECOME AWARE OF ASTRONOMY?

JUNE 14, 2017

Prof. Dante Ambrosio tells us the story of how he got interested in Ethnoastronomy. In a way, this is similar to our own experiences. I remember having brought the old geological alidade that happened to arrive at our home brought by my father to an open-air restaurant in a place called Rotonda in Pasig City to see the blood-red lunar eclipse that happened on May 4, 1985.

The geological alidade at home looks very similar to this. I used to see the Moon and some stars through this when I was young. It has been on the window of our house since I cannot remember when anymore. It is still there. This instrument developed me in a life-long passion for Astronomy.

Prof. Ambrosio in the following account tells us about how he realized that Filipinos have their own way of looking at the stars and have their own unique method of astronomy. I have translated the account myself:

“Noong 1982 una kong nabasa ang salaysay ng buhay ni Magbangal ng mga Bukidnon. Noon ko natuklasan na may sarili palang pangalan sa mga bituin ang mga Pilipino. Dati ko nang alam ang Tatlong Maria at Supot ni Hudas ng mga Tagalog na itinuro sa akin ng aking lola. Narinig ko na rin ang Krus na Bituin at Koronang Tinik, bagaman di ko pa ito nakita noon. Alam kong mga katawagang Kristiyano ang mga ito kaya di ko gaanong bingyang-pansin. Pero ng malaman kong may sariling bituin ang mga Teduray na kinilala pa ni Schlegel ayon sa katawagan ng modernong astronomiya, saka ko napag-isip: may sariling bituin ang mga Pilipino! Mayroon din kaya silang masasabing tradisyon ng astronomiya? Ito ang tanong ko sa isang artikulo sa Diliman Review. Pinagsama-sama ko roon ang mga tuklas nina Cole, Schlgel, at Casino ukol sa mga katutubong bituin. Noon nagsimulang magkaroon sa akin ng halaga ang katutubong kaalaman ukol sa langit at sa mga penomeno rito, lalo na ang mga bituin. Noon din nagkaroon sa akin ng katuturan ang Tatlong Maria at Supot ni Hudas ng mga Tagalog.” (Ambrosio, p. 1-2)

“It was in 1982 when I read for the first time the story of the life of the Magbangal of the Bukidnons. It was then that I discovered that Filipinos have their own names for the stars. I have known the ‘Tatlong Maria’ and the ‘Supot ni Hudas’ of the Tagalogs from the stories told me by my grandmother. I have also heard about the ‘Krus na Bituin’ and the ‘Koronang Tinik’, though I have not yet seen them then. I did not pay much attention to them because I knew that they were Christian names. But when I learned that the Teduray had their own stars which Schlegel himself recognized as corresponding with modern astronomy designations, then I thought, Filipinos have their own stars! Would they also have their own version of astronomy? I asked this question in one article I wrote for the Diliman Review. There I gathered the discoveries of Cole, Schlegel, and Casino on native Filipino stars. It was then when the native knowledge about the heavens and its phenomena began to have importance to me, especially regarding the stars. It was then also when the Tatlong Maria and the Supot ni Hudas of the Tagalogs assumed meaning to me.”

(Note: The Tatlong Maria can be translated into “Three Marys” while the Supot ni Hudas can be translated into “Bag of Judas” or “Pouch of Judas”. This is supposed to be the pouch or small bag where the 30 pieces of silver given to Judas as payment for his betrayal of Jesus Christ was placed.)

I asked Ryan Guido, the Chairman of the Department of Earth and Space Sciences of the RizalTech to find out if the students know the Tatlong Maria and the Supot ni Hudas. Kelvin Martinez interviewed 20 students with ages ranging from 18 to 21 years. Sixteen of them said they know the Supot ni Hudas as the Pleiades but five of these sixteen also know its other appellation as the “Rosario” or Rosary. I also knew since I was very young the “Rosario” but not the “Supot ni Hudas”.

All of the twenty students know the “Tatlong Maria” as the Orion’s Belt. We can be assured that these students will pass on to their descendants these appellations.

Categories: President's Corner

June 2017

HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT CENTER

STAFFING AND CLASSIFICATION DIVISION

(JUNE 1,2017)

List of Vacant Positions in Compliance with RA 7041

Vacant Positions  Item Numbers  Qualification
(2) Administrative Officer I (SG-10) RTCB-ADOF1-13-2004 RTCB-ADOF1-15-2004 Bachelor’s Degree relevant to the job w/Career Service (Professional)/ Second Level Eligibility
(3) Administrative Aide IV (SG-4)

 

RTCB-ADA4-38-2004 RTCB-ADA4-35-2004 RTCB-ADA4-42-2004  Completion of two-year studies in college w/ Career Service (Sub-Professional)/First Level Eligibility
 *(1) Casual/Driver 1/ Admin. Aide 3

 

*renewal

 High School Graduate with one (1) year relevant experience

 

 

Categories: Careers

WHY DO WE GET INTERESTED IN ASTRONOMY?

Posted on June 8, 2017

When I was in Chiang Mai last May, I met Prof. Wayne Orchiston. He was one of the lecturers in our workshop on the field techniques in Ethnoastronomy. The first thing he told me is about the need of English translation of the late Dante L. Ambrosio’s classic work and he asked if I could translate it! I finally got a copy of the book Balatik, Etnoastronomiya, Kalangitan sa Kabihasnang Pilipino, yesterday (June 7, 2017) through the efforts of Maria Rose Ann Bautista. I eagerly flipped through the pages and started reading some paragraphs while mentally translating them into English. I told myself this is going to be a big job.

Prof. Dante L. Ambrosio in the Rizal Technological University

Nonetheless, reading the book gives one ideas. I hardly got through the first page when I thought of writing this article. Why do we get interested in Astronomy?

Dante Ambrosio writes:

“Bata pa ako ng unang mahalina sa langit. Naakit ako ng bughaw nitong kulay na unti-unting pumupusyaw habang bumababa sa abot-tanaw. Hanggang ngayon may mga pagkakataong nagpapalipas pa rin ako ng oras sa pagmamasid sa nagbabagong anyo ng mga ulap. Narahuyo rin ako sa tila paglalaro ng mga kulay ng langit at ulap sa pagsikat at paglubog ng araw. Sadya ko itong inaabangan lalo’t nasa labas ako ng Maynila. Sa gabi, inaaliw naman ako ng buwan at ng maraming nagkikislapang bituin. Ilang panahon pa ang lumipas bago ko nalamang may iba pang rikit at misteryo ang langit bukod sa mga ito.”

Translated into English, it should go like this:

“I was still very young when I was first fascinated by the heavens. I was attracted to its blue colour which faded slowly as twilight approaches. Until now there are times when I while away the time looking at the changing shapes of the clouds. I was also attracted to the seeming play of colors in the sky and in the clouds during sunrise and sunset. I wait for these whenever I am outside of Manila. At nights, the Moon and the many twinkling stars comfort me. Some time passed before I realized that there is beauty and mystery in the sky more than these.”

The generations which look up at the sky may be on their way to extinction if we do not do something. The attention of our young people is constantly being taken captive by the cellphone, the laptop, the social media, and by changing lifestyles. The night sky is almost gone in the city. Light pollution makes the things that we can see in the sky extinct.

Astronomers must do something fast. There is no time to lose.

Dante Ambrosio further writes:

“Oktubre 1965 ng una akong makakita ng kometa. Nagaaral ako noon sa Philippine Science High School at nakatira sa dormitory nito sa UP Village, Quezon City. Kaunti pa ang mga bahay rito, at may burol pa. Isang madaling-araw, umakyat kami ng aking mga kadormitoryo sa isang burol para tignan ang Kometa Ikeya-Seki, isa sa pinakamaliwanag na kometa ng siglo 20. Kapwa pagkamangha at pagkabahala ang naramdaman ko. Namangha ako sa angkin nitong kariktan ngunit nabahala naman sa tila panghihimasok nito sa karaniwang larawan ng langit. Noon tumindi ang pagnanais kong tuklasin pa ang ibang ‘lihim’ ng langit. Noon ako nagsimula ng maging stargazer at amateur astronomer.”

In English, it should go like this:

“I first saw a comet in October of 1965. I was then studying in the Philippine Science High School and was living at its dormitory in UP Village in Quezon City. There were still few houses and there were hills. During an early morning before the Sun rose, myself and my dorm mates climbed a hill to look at Comet Ikeya-Seki, one of the brightest comets of the 20th century. I was both amazed and bothered. I was amazed by its natural beauty but bothered for its seeming intrusion on the appearance of the sky. I started feeling a strong desire to know more about the ‘secrets’ of the heavens, and I became a stargazer and amateur astronomer after this experience.”

Comet Ikeya-Seki, http://www.daviddarling.info

I also saw a comet when I was in the elementary grades, but I could not recall when that was exactly and what its name was. It could be the same Ikeya-Seki. I remember I really made an effort to look for it. In one of our science classes (in Grade 4 maybe) I was asked by my teacher to draw a comet on the board. It looked like this:

When I asked some of the students and faculty of the Department of Earth and Space Sciences their passion for Astronomy could have been triggered by childhood interest or they were inspired by some people, or perhaps due to just plain chance. Pauline Divinagracia kept on looking at the APOD when she was 14 which prompted her mother to look for a school which offers Astronomy and so she found the RizalTech. Ramcis Allen Chan initially wanted to be a meteorologist but saw the first three Astronomy graduates of the RizalTech on TV, namely Lordnico Mendoza, Chito Coronel, and Kelvin Martinez. Ramcis was inspired to take up Astronomy himself.

Kelvin Martinez when he was 6 years old kept on asking his grandfather about that band of light they see on the shores of Laguna De Bay in Pillilla, Rizal during evenings. It was the Milky Way, and it developed in him his lifelong interest in Astronomy. Ryan Guido was inspired by no less than one of the pillars of Astronomy in the RizalTech, Dr, Ruby-Ann Dela Cruz when he saw her using the Astroscan in the Quadrangle studying the Sun. Jason Kalaw wished to be an architect but changed his mind and took up Astronomy and only then realized that he discovered his passion.

Jhan Jhan Abel owed it to one of his teachers who asked him to report on Astronomy. Evan Formentera developed his interest in Astronomy when his mother gave him a gift of a set of books in science which developed his interest in the planets. Maria Rose Ann Bautista discovered her interest in Astronomy when she got late in enrolling in Civil Engineering in the RizalTech and found herself in Astronomy instead.

They are all in the RizalTech now.

Categories: President's Corner

Some More Miscellaneous Beliefs Relating to the Moon:

Would you like to know your future mate?

Posted on June 7, 2017

As I continue on reading the Encyclopedia of Filipino Folk Beliefs and Customs by Fr. Francisco R. Demetrio I keep on gathering more small items on Filipino folk beliefs relating to the Moon and the Sun. Here are some of them:

1. Castrate at Full Moon and throw Testicles on Roof. This one comes from Valencia, Bukidnon. According to the account, “the best time to castrate animals is on full moon. The eggs (i.e. testicles) should be thrown up on the roof of your house so that the animals will grow big and tall.”

2. In the Philippines the season for circumcising male children who have just entered puberty is during the summer months like April and May when there are no classes. From Balingasag, Misamis Oriental, an account goes like this: “Circumcision must be done on a full moon so that one will be vigorous throughout his life.”

3. Young men and women are curious about who their future mate will be. This is one way of doing it. From Samar Island, this is the advice: “Counting nine stars on nine consecutive nights will make one dream of his future mate.” Just don’t include the planets in the count. A few days ago (June 3, 2017) the waxing gibbous Moon was about two degrees from Jupiter. I had a haircut on the evening of that day and as I was walking towards home some old friends called me. Astronomers unconsciously look up at the sky and there I saw the Moon just about two degrees from Jupiter. Venus also comes close in the sky to the Moon quite often, like when it did on December 1, 2008.

http://www.scienzenotizie.it

This particular conjunction was even more beautiful in the Philippines. Venus was directly on top of the Moon. I used my small Celestron 3.5-inch Galileoscope to look at the phenomenon.

But what about when there are two planets near the Moon as it happened in 2015? I was closely following Jupiter and Venus as they were approaching each other in our point of view for months. I even have cellphone images of the conjunction. Unfortunately I was not able to catch the conjunction of the two planets with the waning crescent Moon. There were actually three planets in the conjunction including Mars.

Image taken with my I-Phone in Pasig City on October 22, 2015

There is actually a third planet in the image. It is Mars just below Jupiter (the dimmer planet). I can see it in my I-Phone image. I imagine it is there when I look at this downloaded image. Rose-Ann Bautista of the Department of Earth and Space Sciences sees it, but my eyes are a lot older.

Image taken with my I-Phone in Nasugbu, Batangas, June 2, 2015

Image take with my I-Phone 6 in Amphoe Mueang in Chiang Mai May 14, 2015

The conjunction of the waning crescent Moon with Mars, Jupiter, and Venus on November 7, 2015. http://astrogeoguy.tumblr.com

4. Now here is the fourth. From Cagayan De Oro City they say that “when a star shines beside the moon and a boy is courting a girl, all he has to do is hold her little finger to make her say ‘yes’.”

Got it?

Categories: President's Corner

TAKING A BATH: Look at the Moon Before You Do

Posted on June 5, 2017

TAKING A BATH: Look at the Moon Before You Do

I was looking for materials on Ethnoastronomy in my personal library when I saw two volumes of work by Father Francisco Demetrio, S.J. entitled Encyclopedia of Philippine Folk Beliefs and Customs, published by the Xavier University in Cagayan De Oro City in 1991. Based on the entries on the book about the simple act of bathing, it would seem that Filipinos have no less than eighty-four different beliefs about it, and some of them are associated with the Moon. Bathing, it seems is not such a simple act. There are lots of things to consider, such as the day of the week when you would take a bath, or whether it is a holiday, or if one happens to have menstruation, or if one is taking a bath in a river or stream. One should also consider the time of day when to take a bath because it is said that it is risky to take a bath before going to sleep because it will cause blindness. It is also improper to bathe often, especially the old men.

But these are not really our concern here no matter how interesting these beliefs are. Our concern is the association given by the Filipinos between the Moon and the act of bathing. Here are some of them:

1. It is taboo to bathe when the Moon is setting and the Sun is rising because “When the moon sets at the same time that the sun rises, the earth is carried shoulder to shoulder by the sun and the moon. People should avoid taking a bath when this happens.”

People must consult astronomers to know the exact time and day and the phase of the Moon when this will happen to avoid taking a bath during the occurrence of this phenomenon. On my part, I consulted Ryan Guido, the Head of the department of Earth and Space Science of the RizalTech. He says in the note he gave me that day and night are approximately equal in length during the vernal and autumnal equinox which occurs in March and September every year. It is really quite complicated.

2. Some Filipinos also believe that bathing during full Moon causes insanity.

3. There is an account of one Sinforoso Gomez of Santo Angeles, San Pablo, Laguna Province regarding a female Tikbalang , who had a “crush” on his ancestors: “A tikbalang had a crush on my great, great grandfather over 200 years ago. She also had a crush on my grandfather and again on my uncle. She is said to have been a very beautiful woman once. Now she is very old. She is said to live in a large mabolo tree near the river. She is said to take a bath only during a full moon.”

A tikbalang is a Philippine mythological creature that has the head of a horse and the body of a human. It is tall, black and bony and has disproportionately long legs and long hair, according to Wikipedia. When I consulted the Tagalog to English translators in the Internet, I found out that there is no English equivalent of the tikbalang. Thus it also called tikbalang in English.

4. Some accounts from Camarines Sur and one from Bulacan Province tell us that bathing during a new moon will result in death. According to the account, “One should not take a bath during a new moon, particularly at the exact time given in the calendar because if he does, he will die. This was confirmed by the death of a barrio resident who died while taking a bath during that time.”

Such death of course could have just been a coincidence.

Now this next item in the Filipino folk beliefs could mean that we should not bathe for at least 14 days in a month when the moon is waning.

5. Based on an account from Camiguin Island: “Whoever bathes at the waning of the moon will die.”

Filipino folk beliefs require us to look for the moon before bathing. Accounts from Camarines Sur and Lanao Del Sur tell us of a taboo when the moon is not shining.

“It is bad to take a bath on a moonless night…Do not take a bath when there is no moon because you will die by drowning…It is bad to take a bath during the hours when there is no moon (just before the new moon is seen) because you will die.”

According to the Phases of the Moon app I have on my cellphone, a two-day old waxing moon will rise at 6:27on June 25 and will set at 19:39 so it is possible to see it for about an hour or so after sunset. But I do not see how old folks would consider using moon apps just to follow this folk belief.

 

Reference:

Demetrio, Francisco R. Encyclopedia of Philippine Folk Beliefs and Customs. Xavier University, Cagayan De Oro, 1991.

Categories: President's Corner

NOTES ON PHILIPPINE HISTORICAL AND ETHNOASTRONOMY

Posted on June 2, 2017

The Manila Observatory

I’ve spent some moments in the Manila Observatory during a number of meetings of the Philippine Astronomical Society. The late Father Victor Badillo, who worked as a scientist and astronomer in the establishment, graciously allowed us to hold our meetings in their premises and to conduct stargazing activities on the building’s roof deck. He also showed us the 3.5-inch Questar telescope which Father Francis Heyden, one of the most notable scientists who worked in the Observatory, owned. Sometime in 2001, I brought my newly-arrived Astroscan to the Manila observatory for a stargazing session- these were memorable days.

The Manila Observatory was not originally built in its present site in the Ateneo De Manila Campus in Loyola Heights, Quezon City. It was originally built in the suburbs of Intramuros Manila- “the Inner City”. This suburb is now named Padre Faura named after founder of the Observatory in 1865 (formerly known as Observatorio Meteorologica De Manila). The Observatory engaged in weather observations and forecasting but later expanded into the study of meteorology, astronomy and geomagnetism. It was then established by the American colonial government as the Philippine Weather Bureau. In 1897, a 19-inch refracting telescope was installed in a dome of the Observatory.

While browsing my collection of old books, I came across the book of Joseph Earle Stevens, “Yesterdays in the Philippines”, written in 1899 and reprinted by the Filipiniana Book Guild in 1968. As I scoured bookstores sometime in 1979, I found and bought a copy of Steven’s book for just Php 17.50.

The Introduction to the Filipiniana Book Guild edition, written by E.D.Hester, describes Stevens as follows:

“No more is known of Joseph Earle Stevens than what is revealed in Yesterdays in the Philippines, including the portrait on the frontispiece: a pleasant, probably arrogant, young Bostonian proto-sahib…Stevens’ life in Manila was socially bound within a small Anglo-Saxon community of traders, bankers, and clerks. He found the living good and comfortable. He relished low-level luxury basically afforded by meager native wages, club life, and the amenities foreign to all but the Brahmins of his Victorian Boston…”

Stevens’ picture in Yesterdays in the Philippines

As I was browsing Steven’s account, I stumbled upon his description of the Manila Observatory. Stevens described the Observatory in very generous terms and I couldn’t help but feel proud that, once upon a time, the Philippines had a state-of the-art observatory.

According to Stevens:

“Manila is said to have the most complete astronomical, meteorological, and seismological observatory anywhere east of the Mediterranean.”

Stevens met Padre Faura, a legendary figure in history, face to face. My only affiliation with his memory is the big medal bearing his visage, the Padre Faura Award Medal, awarded to me by the Philippine Astronomical Society for my contributions to Astronomy in the Philippines.

Stevens’ description of Padre Faura, who was also a teacher, gave us a hint of the man being amiable, accommodating, and eager to share his knowledge to people who have the curiosity for such things.

According to Stevens:

“…Padre Faura gave us a long discourse on typhoons, earthquakes, and various other phenomena…He seemed much impressed by the United States, and at our departure presented us with one of the monthly observatory reports…”

The observatory reports were exhaustive and provided great detail on the natural phenomena observed and recorded by the observatory.

Stevens continues with his account on this:

“the monthly observatory reports] give the whole story of the movements of the earth, winds, heavens, tides, stars, and clouds at every hour of the day and night, for every day during the month, and for every month during the year.”

The monthly observatory report had the title of Boletin del Observatorio de Manila. An online source, www.manresa-sj.org, gives us an idea of the importance of the work of Padre Faura:

“Faura’s monthly Boletin del Observatorio de Manila was in much demand. The observatory became so important that the Spanish government designated it an official institution and secondary stations were set up throughout Luzon. The aneroid barometer, designed by Faura for use in the Philippines and the most accurate weather gauge in the area, became a household article. The observatory went on to establish a time service, make seismological observations, publish a seismological bulletin, and eventually undertake astronomical studies. After his death the street nearest the observatory was named after him.”

Stevens himself found good reason to visit the Observatory on the strength of its reputation:

“Not to miss anything of such reputation, several of us [ note: these were probably members of a club he visited] decided to make a call on Padre Faura, who presides over the institution, and who is well known scientifically all over the world. At the observatory we were cordially received by an assistant, who spoke English well enough to turn us off from using Spanish, and were conducted over the establishment.”

He then described to us, in a manner reminiscent of Jonathan Swift, why the Manila Observatory was the most complete astronomical, meteorological, and seismological observatory in this part of the world:

“Here were machines which would write down the motions of the earth in seismological disturbances, and which conveyed to the ear various subterranean noises going on below the surface. Still other instruments were so delicate that they rang electric bells were mutterings took place far underground, asnd thus warned the observers of approaching trouble. Another, into which you could look, showed a moving black cross on a white ground that danced at all the slight tremblings continually going on; and the rumbling of a heavy cart over the neighboring highroad would make it tremble with excitement.”

He was describing here the seismographs which were housed in a massive structure:

“A solid tower of rock twenty feet square extended up through the building from bottom to top, and was entirely disconnected with the surrounding structure. On this column all of the earthquake-instruments were arranged; and any sort of an oscillation that took place would be recorded in ink on charts arranged for the purpose. Various wires and electric connections were everywhere visible, and an approaching disturbance would be sure to set enough bells and tickers a-going to arouse one of the attendants.”

He accurately described the building and the meteorological section of the Observatory:

“The great school building in which the observatory was placed was fully six hundred feet square, with a large court-yard in the center containing fountains and tropical plants in profusion. After leaving the lower portions of the building, we ascended through long hallways to visit the meteorological department above. Barometers, thermometers, wind-gauges, rain-measurers, and all sorts of recording instruments filled a most interesting room…”

He and company climbed all the way to the top of the Observatory which, was at that time, probably one of the tallest structures in the city. From the Internet, I was able to find this image of the view of the surroundings- the city of Manila itself seen from the Observatory:

“Vista Desde el Observatorio, View from the Manila Observatory, Ermita, Manila, Philippines, 1887 From the old photograph album book “Escuela Normal de Manila, Exposicion de Madrid Ano 1887” Bilioteca Digital Hispanica Copyright: National Library of Spain

Stevens described the view as follows:

“From the roof of the observatory a splendid view of the city, Bay, and adjacent country may be had, and Manila lay before us steaming in the sun.”

Stevens went on to describe the astronomical section of the Observatory:

“Before leaving, we saw the twenty-inch telescope, constructed in Washington under the direction of the Padre who was our guide, which is soon to be installed in a special building constructed for the purpose.” /

These were the glorious days for Philippine astronomy and science.

 

From the Manila Observatory Archives archives.observatory.ph

Categories: President's Corner