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Monday, November 23, 2009

New Books at the Observatory!

We are trying to start an Observatory reference library, and in the past week, some books were acquired on a sale. Before we find an ideal bookshelf, we will meanwhile showcase 2 books every Friday, for your reference when you are taking a break from stargazing.

Do you have books to donate? Bring it down to the Observatory, or leave a message for us in the tagboard on your right.

We look forward to hearing from you! :)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Scobbers go to... Parkway Parade!

On 20 to 22nd November, our Scobbers Andrew and Yong will be at Parkway Parade, presenting you a most Magical Starry Nights Science Show. Be enchanted by the science demonstrations in the show! Here are the timings for the shows: 1.30pm, 4.30pm and 7.30pm daily.

While waiting, you are welcome to take part in our stage games and who knows what prizes you'll walk away with. The stage games are conducted at 1pm, 4pm and 7pm daily, just right before our science show.

You may be thinking, how to get there?
Here's the information you'll need:
Buses: 15, 31, 36, 43, 48, 76, 135, 196, 196e, 197

Recognise this building with the huge PP and you'll know where to alight.

When you get inside, just look for our nice round Science Centre and our Science in the Mall logos.

If you miss this exciting event, you will have to wait 'til next June in 2010. So make sure you catch it this time. Or it'll be another half-year-long wait.

For more information and updates, here's where to go to:

See you there =)

(and that concludes my very first post)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Leonids Meteor shower 17th & 18th Nov

Just some more info about the meteor shower happening this week.
These meteors (aka shooting stars) are tiny bits of debris (ice and rock dust)left by a comet called Tempel-Tuttle, which occassional crosses the Earth's orbit.

On Tuesday night/Wednesdau morning, Earth will move through this comet debris. As the debris enters our atmosphere it burns and creates a bright flash in the sky.

Each flash will last no longer than a second. Between the hours of 12am and 4am (wednesday) you might expect to see a small number of meteors (10 or less per hour).
Approaching 5am, this should increase to about 200 meteors per hour as the Earth enters the densest part of the comet's debirs field.

Remember that being in an urban environment, with brightly lit skies, we may not see the full glory of the shower but if the sky is clear it should still be quite a show.

The shower is called the Leonids because the meteor appear to originate from in front of the constellation Leo (see diagram below). Leo will be visible above the horizon after about 2am towards the East direction.
To watch the meteor shower it is best to have a clear view of the Eastern part of the sky (i.e. where the Sun will rise in the morning). Although the meteors start from the East direction they travel out in all directions so position yourself facing Eastward but kept looking high up to catch the meteors as the streak across the sky.

A star map of the east direction, on Wed 18th Nov 2009 between 3am and 5am:
(Look out for the two planet, Mars and Starn as well)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Cloudy Fridays...

The weather over in Singapore has not been very ideal for stargazing lately. We had several cloudy Fridays in a row. So our visitors yesterday were having fun attending talks, reading, coloring, looking at the JTC building through our main telescope in the dome.

Last Friday was slightly better. We had Jupiter for starters, and just before the Science Centre Observatory closed, we saw some beautiful constellations!

As we approach the end of the year, there are some nice sky objects to look out for. IMO the easier ones will be Pegasus - a big square in the sky, and the Summer Triangle, a huge right-angle triangle made up of 3 bright stars: Vega, Deneb and Altair. And our favourite would be Albireo, a beautiful double star made up of one blue-green star and one gold star. You need a telescope to see that. :)

Above: Pegasus

Above: The Summer Triangle

Hmm... Let's hope there will be better Friday nights for us to look at Jupiter and the stars... If you are one of the lucky visitors to come on a clear night, don't forget to check out Jupiter and its moons, and their shadows on Jupiter, as well as Albireo. They won't be around for long! Miss them, and you have to wait for 1 year. ;)

If, however, you come on a cloudy night, don't leave just yet, your patience might be rewarded with a gust of wind that clears the clouds in the sky... We are also trying to collect art pieces from each of you. Colour or draw something before you leave, and pass it to us. We are building a picture wall! Pictures will be up soon :)

Meanwhile, feel free to leave messages for us on the Tagboard on the right, enjoy the daily Astro picture on the bottom right, and if you have not added us on Facebook or Twitter, do so now, so that we may update you on the latest news!

See ya at the Science Centre Observatory, friends!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Water on the Moon - CONFIRMED!

Today's Google Logo above.

Water on the moon has all along been suspected but never proven. But scientists have recently CONFIRMED the presence of water on the moon! COOL.

Here is a short article from

What exactly has Nasa found?

The equivalent of 24 gallons of frozen water, mixed in with the rock and dust that was thrown into the air when a rocket was deliberately crashed into a crater near the Moon's south pole last month. It is far from the science fiction fantasy of an underground lake, but still pretty impressive for a satellite long dismissed as arid and dull.

Didn't we know there was water on the Moon already?

Scientists have long suspected that there was water on the Moon, but have struggled to prove it. The sensors on orbital craft have detected evidence of hydrogen on the lunar surface, but the quantities were tiny. A major breakthrough came last September, when India announced that its Chandrayaan-1 craft had detected that chemical reactions producing water are still taking place.

Where does the water come from?

No one is certain. One theory suggests that hydrogen released by the Sun in solar winds could have reacted with compounds containing oxygen in the Moon rock, producing tiny amounts of H20. Another explanation proposes that the water came from vapour produced when comets and meteors crashed into the Moon's surface.

What does this all mean?

Nasa has been so keen to find water on the Moon because it brings the dream of a permanent lunar base one step closer. If water exists in the quantities that Nasa now believes, it could be drunk by astronauts, turned into oxygen to make stations inhabitable and – most excitingly – converted into fuel. The Moon could then become the space equivalent of a service station – acting as a staging post for manned missions to Mars.