DOST-NCR's STELLAR: One People, One Sky, One Science

As the 2021 National Science and Technology Week highlights research and development (R&D) outputs and innovative products and services developed and offered by different agencies and Regional Offices of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) to address the challenges brought about by the pandemic and climate change, the DOST-National Capital Region (NCR) demystifies astronomical sciences to introduce its practical applications, through a 3-day series called "Science and Technology Elevates Learning for Astronomy Research" (STELLAR) last November 23-25, 2021.

The DOST-NCR collaborated with the Rizal Technological University (RTU) turning the spotlight on to astronomy and space science as a field of interest for research, visual arts (photography), entrepreneurship, and career development among others. Alongside this, RTU professors and alumni, as well as experts from the DOST-Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) discussed topics on space weather, possible forthcoming large-scale astronomical events, overview of the world and the universe, observational astronomy, and astro-technopreneurship.

Also part of the STELLAR event, the DOST-NCR and RTU arranged a viewing session to capture Venus, Saturn, and Jupiter.

The three-day series culminated with the awarding ceremony of the mobile photography contest, "Astrophotography: Explore the Sky as Juan."

Astronomy as One of the Oldest Sciences
The cycles of the heavens, the predictability of the planets and the regularity of the motion of the sun in the sky undoubtedly inspired most people into thinking about time, predictions, and physical laws and theories about the heavenly bodies.

Moreover, since it is also concerned with the evolution, physics, chemistry, meteorology, and motion of celestial objects, as well as the formation and development of the universe, the invention of the telescope was required to help astronomy develop into modern science.

The Important Role Astronomy in PH
Being one of the major countries in Southeast Asia, the Philippines can play a big role in astronomy. Yet, it is one of the underdeveloped branches of science in all levels of education. For a science that is both highly technical and equally inspiring, our country lags behind in terms of astronomy education and research.

Good thing that despite these problems, there is a steadily increasing interest in astronomy among primary and secondary schools as advocated by RTU. The University hosts the Center for Astronomy Research and Development (CARD) under the Niche Centers in the Regions for R&D (NICER) Program of the DOST.

The CARD conducts research on light pollution, instrumentation, astrophysics, space weather, and space technology. provides necessary facilities to harness knowledge about space science and technologies. CARD also holds leisure-oriented workshops and seminars on celestial navigations aiming to propel astronomy education toward the achievement of scientific excellence among Filipinos.

Unity Through Astronomy
We live in a modern world where different technologies satisfy our needs. We are in the era of science, technology, and innovation, which should be inculcated in our everyday way of living. It is DOST-NCR's advocacy to increase appreciation of technical knowledge, such as astronomy and space sciences, on the ground.

The DOST-NCR stands firm in advocating the practical use of scientific know-how and encourage science and technology-based careers among the youth in the country. As Filipino astrophysicist Rogel Mari Sese puts it, "The best way to rapidly promote astronomy in the Philippines is to train science educators all over the country about astronomy. It is principle of educator empowerment that would provide a crucial step in developing astronomy education in the Philippines."