Students take on street astronomy at LES’ ‘Under the Stars’
The Lasallian Educators Society (LES) conducted a free lecture-forum titled “UNDER THE STARS: Astronomy Lectures and Star Gazing”, wherein invited guest speaker Manila Street Astronomers (MSA) founder and president Gary Andreassen discussed astronomical perspectives on November 24 at the Alumni Conference Hall B.
Andreassen opened the conversation on the perspective in terms of visualizing the actual scale distance of the earth to the Sun, the Moon, and the planets in the Solar System.
He also presented a visual map of Dasmariñas featuring the distance of the planets in the Solar System for the participants’ clearer understanding, starting with the sun at the center of the oval at DLSU-D, and extending to Villa Isabel Village located at Congressional Avenue where Neptune is located.
Moreover, Andreassen assisted students in visualizing the actual size of the earth in the form of a pin needle, comparing it to the Sun, the size of a basketball.
“Everyone who ever is and ever was, every organic and inorganic and everything alive or dead have lived in the small ball of rock the size of a pin needle,”Andreassen said.
Andreassen also discussed the concept of the speed of light, citing an example that once a very bright light is lit on one part of the earth, it will travel at a speed of one second lightning in a blink of an eye.
“[The] Sun is 8 light minutes away, imagine [kapag] namata yang sun, we will not know that 8 minutes after. Pag nabuhay ulit (The Sun), it will reach us again 8 minutes after, uy nabuhay ang sun, that is how far sun is even in terms of the speed of light,” he furthered.
Andreassen also explained the speed of light through an illustration.
“Imagine, someone in that planet [a planet located in a nearest solar system] has a very big telescope and he is looking at earth, specifically he’s looking at me, ‘yong taong ‘yon will not see me today as I am but he will see me as I am 4 years ago.”
MSA, a non-profit organization, advocates teaching the public about the wonders of astronomy. MSA also encourages public viewing of the stars by setting up of telescopes in public places, mainly located in Alabang and Quezon City.
Meanwhile, in an interview with The HERALDO FILIPINO, LES President Charlene-Harbie Coronel said, “We believe that this kind of event enables students to experience things they do not actually see inside the class are relevant nowadays because it tickles the curiosity of the students to explore more about these kinds of subjects like astronomy.”
Because of the unexpectedly large number of participants, LES plans to conduct another astronomy lecture and stargazing event in a larger venue that can accommodate more people.
“Because as we have seen in the pre-registered participants, it’s really anoverwhelming number that we didn’t expect, so we realize the need tolet the community experience this,” Coronel said.
However, the actual stargazing activity did not pursue due to intermittent weather at the time.
As for the rescheduled date of the stargazing activity, Coronel said that the MSA has suggested the date to be on January 29 of next year. However, it is yet to be confirmed since it is still subject to the Office of the Student Services’ approval.