My astronomy photos at 500px.com

•August 10, 2015 • Leave a Comment

I am not sure why some of my images in my previous posts disappeared. I’ve already told this problem to WordPress, but they don’t know the reason either. Most of these images were linked from Facebook so maybe it has to do with Facebook.

Anyway, I’ve decided to put some of my favorite astronomy photos I took in 500px.com. Maybe I’ll upload my future photos here and connect it with WordPress…

http://500px.com/stellasgaze

My Astronomy Facebook Page

•August 15, 2014 • Leave a Comment

I just created a Facebook page for my astronomy activities and updates on Philippine astronomy. Please like my page at https://www.facebook.com/stellasgaze2328

To the stars!

Life over Lupus

•September 8, 2016 • Leave a Comment

I’ve shared my story to a Facebook page that helps raise awareness of Lupus. I’m reposting the essay here, but I edit it a bit to reach out to everyone (not only those who have Lupus) who are struggling to fulfill their dreams. This is my testimony of God’s goodness in my life.

**************************************************************************

I would like to share my story especially to those who have already lost hope in reaching their dreams because of rejections, discouragements, and illness.

Six years ago, I dreamed of becoming a planetary scientist. I know that such dream is unusual in the Philippines. Because I was young and idealistic then, I still entered graduate school in UP Diliman, hoping that I can receive support and encouragement from my professors. Unfortunately for the next 2 years, I only received rejections and discouragements. One of them even told me that I was born in the wrong country for this dream. Disheartened, I quitted graduate school and decided to work in the industry. Two years after, I received a scholarship to study in Europe and communicated with a professor that will help me pursue a research thesis related to planetary science. When I was about to reach this dream, I got sick. I never expected that I’ll acquire a chronic illness. No one in my family has or had Lupus.

I was diagnosed with SLE with Stage 4 Nephritis in September 2015 when I was about to start my thesis. It was a shock to me and to my family. That was also the first time I heard about Lupus. Despite this very sad situation, I am very grateful to God that He was able to bring my dad and my boyfriend to take care of me while I underwent blood transfusion and chemotherapy for 3 months in Europe. It’s very hard to get sick in a foreign country, but I’m thankful that God provided everything – from people to finances – to help me fight and survive. After my chemotherapy, I returned to the Philippines to recover, but still tried to do my thesis whenever I have the strength. I was advised to rest and recover for one year (which means I need to stop my studies for a year!), but by faith I said I don’t need to rest for a year. I won’t let an illness stop me for reaching my dream. And so after only 2 months of rest in the Philippines, I went back to Europe on my own to finish my thesis while taking care of my health. By March, I learned that my Lupus was already in remission and my kidney function has greatly improved. Early last month, I defended my dream research thesis and finally earned my MSc degree. I am now back in the Philippines for full recovery.

Life will definitely bombard you with problems and even illnesses to stop you from reaching your dreams. However, as long as you keep a positive outlook in life despite the adversity and you strongly believe in Him, nothing is impossible. I survived and recovered quickly because of the love and support of my loved ones, strong faith, and prayers. So to people who have chronic illness and to those who are discouraged and rejected, don’t ever lose that hope. Keep fighting and no matter what the circumstances are, believe that there is someone up there who will take care of everything for you.

To God be the glory!

To the stars!

May 9, 2016 Mercury Transit

•May 9, 2016 • Leave a Comment

My first time to witness a Mercury Transit. The sun was almost at my zenith and therefore it was difficult to image using only a video tripod, C90 Maksutov-Cassegrain telescope (with solar filter), and DSLR. To minimize the weight, I used my iPhone to take this shot. I wish I could observe longer, but I’m not allowed to stay too long under the sun because of Lupus.

May 9, 2016 Mercury Transit by erika valdueza on 500px.com

 

March 9, 2016 Partial Solar Eclipse

•March 9, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Because of my decision to go home for further recovery after my chemotheraphy sessions, I was able to witness a solar eclipse this year. Sometimes, unexpected situations happen for a reason. In my case, it was a blessing in disguise.

To the stars!

March 9, 2016 Partial Solar Eclipse by erika valdueza on 500px.com

 

March 9, 2016 Partial Solar Eclipse by erika valdueza on 500px.com

 

Merry Christmas! 

•December 23, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Merry Christmas, everyone! To the stars!🙂

 

In Search of Comet Catalina

•December 9, 2015 • 1 Comment

Looking for Comet Catalina in a light-polluted sky was a bit challenging. If it wasn’t for Venus, which I used as a guide, I would hardly recognize it. Through a 70mm refractor telescope, it appeared like a white fuzzy blob. Stars appear as pinpoints of light through a telescope and even without a telescope. With this in mind (and also there are no nebulas and galaxies in that part of the sky), I’m pretty sure I’m looking at the right object.

Here’s my image of Comet Catalina:

Comet Catalina by erika valdueza on 500px.com

                                                         Comet Catalina
                                                8x30s (Polarie – tracked)
                                                    f/5.6, 163mm, ISO 400
                                           Canon EOS 70D, 55-250mm lens

 

And also an image of the beautiful waning crescent moon with earthshine and Venus:

Moon and Venus by erika valdueza on 500px.com

 

The comet is not yet visible to the naked eye. I am hoping it will progress by early next year. However, comets are usually unpredictable so we don’t really know what will happen. Keep your fingers crossed that it will become very bright and develop long tails!🙂

To the stars!

Hello there, Moon!

•October 30, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Finally, a prime focus shot of the moon. I haven’t done this for a long time. I used Skywatcher 90mm Maksutov-Cassegrain telescope and Canon EOS 70D to take this shot.

Hello there, Moon! by erika valdueza on 500px.com

October 27, 2015 Planetary Trio: Venus, Jupiter, and Mars

•October 28, 2015 • Leave a Comment

I woke up too early today (Well, not just today. It’s been like this for weeks…) so I was hoping I could have a glimpse of the planetary conjunction. Thankfully, the sky cleared up and I was able to see this celestial view.

Planetary Trio: Venus, Jupiter, and Mars by erika valdueza on 500px.com

Planetary Trio: Venus, Jupiter, and Mars (zoom-in) by erika valdueza on 500px.com

You can still see the planetary conjunction of these planets until next week. Don’t forget to look up!

To the stars!