The Science Explorer, the Philippines first and only mobile science interactive learning facility, will bring to high school students of Camarines Norte in June the historic viewing of the last Venus Transit of this lifetime.
Dr. Filma G. Brawner, Director of the Science Education Institute – Department of Science and Technology, the government’s lead agency in science and technology human resource development, said the Venus Transit Roadtrip of the Science Explorer to Camarines Norte, which will be on June 6 and conducted on the shores of Bagasbas in Daet, will highlight the importance of astronomy and entice students to take on careers in science in the future.
“The activity aims to provide the students with the opportunity to observe and learn key celestial phenomena such as the Venus Transit through actual telescopic observation and lectures,” she said.
The Venus Transit—a phenomenon when planet Venus passes between the Earth and the sun—is a rare planetary alignment which happens in pairs that are eight years apart with the dual events taking place approximately every 105 years. The world has witnessed the said occultation most recently in 2004, the first transit of the planet since 1882. The importance of observing this celestial event goes beyond recording it in history. It is through studying transits that astronomers before were able to discover the existence and distances of other planets in the solar system.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) says the Philippines is one of the better view points for the extraordinary astronomical occurrence, one that will fascinate the people living in this generation.
Brawner said a total of 180 students from six underprivileged schools in Daet, Camarines Norte will be given a chance to learn about the Venus Transit and actually observe it through telescopes.
The lecture and observation will be done in collaboration with Dr. Rogel Mari D. Sese, Focal Person for the Philippine Space Science Education Program.
The transit can be safely observed by taking the same precautions used when observing the partial phases of a solar eclipse. The safest manner of observing the transit is to project the image of the Sun through instruments like pinhole, telescope and binoculars onto a screen or by using a solar filter. Staring at the brilliant disk of the Sun without eye protection can severely damage one’s retina and hence affect or end one’s sense of sight.
“We believe that exposing the young students in this kind of astronomical observation will boost their interest in science and hopefully motivate them to pursue studies in the field,” Brawner added.
Brawner added that a live stream of the Venus Transit observation will be seen in the Science Education Institute website (www.sei.dost.gov.ph) in partnership with the Advanced Science and Technology Institute to enable Filipinos to witness the phenomenon. She said the live streaming aims to maximize participation all over the country therefore increasing the impact of the activity. (30)