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Philippine Astronomical Society collaborates with SPU Manila for 30th National Astronomy Week

By Ayeshka Kenzie Galarpe and Alex Jillian Adanza | The Paulinian

Astronomy Week 2023

The 30th National Astronomy Week, spearheaded by the Philippine Astronomical Society (PAS), Inc., was held in St. Paul University Manila on March 4, 2023. It was the first time in two years to have this event celebrated again in person. This year’s theme was “Breaking Barriers in Philippine Astronomy: Overcoming Adversity for a Better and Sustainable Development,” which aimed to educate and tackle the importance of research and discoveries that contribute to the sustainability of life here on earth through Astronomy.

The event was composed of many different activities, contests, lectures about Astronomy, and a workshop on using telescopes. The lectures were divided into three distinct parts, two were held during the morning session and one during the afternoon. Participating schools from across the National Capital Region (NCR) and some from the CALABARZON region joined in various contests—Astronomy Quiz, Digital Poster Making Contest, and Astrophotography Contest.

The morning session was hosted by two senior high school students from St. Paul University Manila, Alex Jillian Adanza and Jaide Cedo. The Opening Prayer was led by Mr. Sean Acierto, a PAS committee member, while the Opening Remarks were given by Ms. Martine Joy Irog, the current President of the Philippine Astronomical Society. This was followed by the introduction of activities and mechanics by Mr. Khristian Dimacali, the former President of the PAS.

The lecture series was titled “Astronomy as a Gateway Science.” The first speaker was Ms. Sarah Felismino, a psychometrician, who tackled the topic and the affinity of “Astronomy and Psychology.” She explained how nature captivates people’s minds, which attracts them to act upon protecting the environment. The second lecture was centered on how the sustainable development goals of the United Nations can be attained through Astronomy and Space. The lecture highlighted specific ways of bringing humanity to another level. This was discussed by Mr. Harlee Quizzagan, a National Point Contact for the Philippines of the Space Generation Advisory Council.

Following the morning lecture was the Astronomy Quiz. Due to the limited time, there was no elimination round. All the students from the participating schools automatically headed to the final round of the quiz, which was divided into three categories: Easy, Average, and Difficult. The quiz was moderated by Mr. Quizzagan, the quiz master.

Following the Astronomy Quiz was the continuation of the lecture series in the afternoon session. The third lecture focused on the topic of meteorites. The current story of how the Ponggo Meteorite was found was shared and discussed by Mr. Ramon Santiago, a member of the International Meteorite Collectors Association. Currently, the Ponggo Meteorite is officially registered as the seventh meteorite in the Meteoritical Bulletin Database (MBD) in the Philippines.

The talk about the Ponggo Meteorite was followed by a lecture about the basics of meteorites. The lecture was handled by Mr. Allen Yu, a former member of the Meteoritical Society, former PAS Observation and Instrumentation Chair, and a member of PAS for more than two decades. Mr. Yu shared his knowledge of and trivia about meteorites with the students and teachers present at the event.
The afternoon lecture was followed by the Telescope Workshop and Training. The speakers prepared and displayed different sets of telescopes. They explained how those telescopes work and ways to use them. The people present at the event were given the opportunity to hold and examine the telescopes with guidance from the speakers.

Following the Telescope Workshop and Training was the Awarding Ceremony. Winners in the different contest categories received medals, certificates, and cash prizes. 

The event concluded with a photo op of all the participants in front of the SPUM Chapel. After the closing ceremony, a free telescope viewing was conducted for registered participants.

Astronomy Week 2023