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Friday, July 31, 2009

Tonight's weather

Looks good tonight!
Could be our first clear Friday night sky of July.
In the picture above, the whitespeck at the top right corner is the Moon.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Coming Soon in August

A guide to July's sky

Travel back to the days of old, when television was new, where things were all black and white. Here, you'll meet "darth" our friendly scobber from " A long time ago..." Who, by means of a mysterious interdimensional hypersubspace rift thingy through the fabric of spacetime, can communicate with us and inform us of what we can expect to see in the sky each month.

Friday, July 24, 2009

The weather tonight (24th July)

Tonight's sky looks better than last week. Still cloudy but a chance of clearing.

PS. In the end my prediction was wrong. Instead of clearing, more cloud came over and covered the sky. In the few gaps that appeared we did catch a brief glimpse of Saturn and the stars Arcturus (Bootes) and Antares (Scorpius).

I'm sad to say that I don't make a good weather man :(
That's the third week in a row that we've been clouded out. It seems July is a very cloudy month.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Eclipse Event 22 July 2009

If there was ever a day to remember that in the world of Earth-based astronomy the weather is king, it was today.
Heavy cloud and persistant rain made sure that this morning's Solar Eclipse was well and truly eclipsed, meaning to say that we and many others didn't see a thing.

Despite the rain an estimated 300 or so optimistic visitors came to the observatory at 8:30am.

As our motto says: The show must gone!
Actually, we don't have a motto, but in cases such as this it seemed appropriate.
With no eclipse and no live webcasts we did the only thing we could.......FAKE IT!

Now, when I say fake it, I don't mean use somebody's head and film it moving slowly in front of a bright light, no no no!
I mean we used our trusty software Starry Night Pro Plus to show people an animation of what the eclipse would look like if there were clear skies.

About 100 or so people stuck around for this "simulated eclipse" and a brief tour of the observatory. However, some were a little surprised when they saw just how small a 10% eclipse actually is and also that Singapore will not see a total solar eclipse until the year 2168.

There is a brief video report on the event currently available on Straits Times Razor TV:

Below are some photos of the event:

Above: Alfred setting up live webcast outside classroom.

Below: The webcast showing that even in China there was rain

Above: Yong got his picture in the paper (Lianhe Zaobao) treating visitors to a tour and Q&A session at the main telescope.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Scobbers' Pets

Hehehe here's a glimpse into the interesting pets Scobbers keep in the office...
At time of photo shoot, Andrew was not around. We decided this must be Andrew's favourite Pet:

SK's friend, Oarsome:

Hui Ting's Pet Miu Miu:

Yong looking at his favourite tank:

His pet eel, Eel.

See you tonight!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Scobbers go to Coffee Club

Well, this wasn't so recent but I was just cleaning up my desktop (that is my computer desktop, not my actual/real desk, which could do with a clean also but it can wait). I appear to be in the habit of saving files in new folders and not bothering to name the folder. As such my desktop is littered with various "New Folder" numbered 1 to 9 and I have no idea what I have in them. Does anyone else do this too?
I would ask you to raise your hand but I can't see you so there's no point, unless you happen to be one of my colleagues here in the office, in which case I shall keep an eye out for randomly raised hands in the workplace, in the hope that someone is reading this blog.

Anyway , where was I. Oh yes! So having opened "New Folder (4)" I stumbled across some photos of previous Science Educator outings, including Yong's birthday and our dear colleague Ms Tian's farewell dinner at Coffee Club IMM.

"So why not put some on the blog" I thought to myself and let everyone know that although we scobbers work hard we sometimes take a break to go eat some cake.
(I was half tempted to write "eat snake" but that would be bad because we never do that no no no :0) Be assured that all this occurred after work hours.
Here's the Coffee Club photos:

SK taking photo of her food. What was that? Fish?

I have to say that I found the food quite ok but my Chicken Zucchini thing was not very filling, which was good as it left room for CAKE!!!

Below are some of our other colleagues (Charissa, Ying Leng, Adam, Dr Her Mann and of course "The Ting" Hui Ting). How come Hui Ting got her food first?

Not sure what our friend Kelvin is doing here.

Perhaps he's talking about a subspace vortex opening up at the bottom of the bowl acting as a gateway to another dimension made entirely of pasta and thus always refilling his plate so he can never finish. That's my guess anyways. Its a common lunchtime topic.

Its Cake Time! 4 people, 3 muddy mudpies, 1 fruity tiramisu and 1 unknown cake. We finished the lot.

Yong vs the Mudpie: Yong wins. He ate one and a half of these lovely Cappuccino and Oreo flavoured monsters.

Yong likes to eat and he always says he eats fast. I like stop motion animation so here's a very short video showcasing how to eat at Yong speed:

Monday, July 13, 2009

Photos from last last week!

Last Friday night was very cloudy. The stars and planets (Saturn/Jupiter) were blocked. The moon only rose high enough after 10pm. Many of us and many visitors were disappointed that they couldn't see much from the sky. But we had a new introductory video made by ANDREW the AWESOME, which was really funny to watch and very informative! It's not on youtube, it's not on this webbie, you gotta visit us to watch it ;)

It appears that the weather these few days is rather cloudy. Saturday night was also cloudy, so was Sunday night.

I miss those nights when stars glitter merrily and the moon gleams in a corner beautifully and not too brightly. That makes a perfect night to gaze at stars and clusters and planets and their moons, to find constellations (Scorpius, Libra, Saggitarius and Southern Cross for now), and to explore the moon surface.

Just last last Friday it wasn't so bad. Towards 8 the sky threatened to rain. We set up the telescopes but had to quickly pack them back just in case. But the clouds flew past and the sky cleared up, to reveal Saturn, Scorpius, and other beautiful objects in the sky. We couldn't get enough.

Here are some pictures.

The Moon

On the moon, The Bay of Rainbows

Alpha Centauri (Yellow double star, and nearest star to the earth apart from the sun)

The "observatory cat" comes to visit every Friday night and pounces on green laser spots for fun. :)

More pictures coming right up! See ya this Friday! :)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Good Morning!

Long time no blog, and I apologise >.< < >June school holidays brought us many many visitors and we are elated that there are so many people interested in Astronomy. Hope you guys come back soon! There are new and exciting things coming up in the Friday nights ahead, as you would be able to see on the "July Highlights" on your right that Andrew has updated. For those of you who want to see Mars, do check out "A Little Something For the Morning". For those of you who are excited about the upcoming Solar Eclipse, check out "Upcoming Events - Solar Eclipse". Thanks a lot Andrew!!!!!!!

While doing some research for our new space programmes, I came across this webbie by MSNBC. And I couldn't take my eyes off! The Month in Space showcases rare photographs related to Astronomy, and it archives 2 months back. So that's 60 eye candies to share with our beloved blog visitors. :D

Just a glimpse of what you'll see:

Go see it right now!
Meanwhile, what do you think of our blog? And which part of the Observatory did you enjoy the most? We certainly want to keep the Observatory a happy and warm place where the passion of Astronomy is shared. Do drop your comments or talk to us or share your knowledge with us via the tagboard on your right.

Thank you and have a good week ahead! See you on Friday :)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Star Map - July 2009 (Singapore)

Hi everyone, the Star Maps are back!!!

Here's a map for the night sky in July:

Just a quick word about our Star Maps.
Each Star Map shows the position of the brightest stars and planets visible each month.

As the sky is always in motion ( due to the Earth's 24hr rotation) the position of an object in the Star Map is only an approximation, specifically between the times 8pm and 10pm in the evening.
After 10pm and on towards midnight, all the objects in the sky would have shifted more towards the West, with new objects appearing in the East.

A copy of these Star Maps will be available at the Science Centre Observatory (SCOB) every Friday night during our stargazing session between 7:45pm and 10pm.

Of course these Star Maps only specific to this region of the Earth, close to the Equator. Moving further North or South away from the Equator will give you a slightly different of the sky, however, some of the constellation will be the same.

As such, our Star Maps are not only valid for Singapore but can also be used in parts of Malaysia and Indonesia as well as parts of Central Africa, Northern Brazil, Peru, Ecuador and Columbia, in case you happen to live there or fancy going on holiday.

Happy Stargazing!!