Friday, April 4, 2014

Free Stargazing Talk - Magnificent Mars

The next public stargazing talk is titled "Magnificent Mars".

Date:   Saturday, 5 April 2014
Time:   7:30pm - 8:30pm
Venue: Toa Payoh Public Library. Level 1 Programme Zone.

Admission is free. No pre-registration required. Late-comers welcomed!

Credit: Wikipedia

Discover the fascinating facts about the Red Planet and learn how to observe it with your own eyes right here in Singapore!

Weather permitting, live stargazing during/after the talk at the open grounds outside the library. Come see Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, star clusters and nebula (star cloud) through telescopes! Feel free to join in the fun with your family and friends. Looking forward to catch up with astro friends and their latest new toys! :)

After 2 years of presenting these talks on a low performance netbook,  this will be the first time I am using a much faster laptop, i.e. higher definition videos and animations! :)


Update 14 Apr 2014:

Big thanks to Toa Payoh Public Library for hosting the talk and all who came to attend despite a very discouraging cloudy early evening! Was a little tired after giving a talk at National Junior College the previous evening (totally enjoyed that session too!). But the wonderful response from the library audience kept me awake and feeling alive. And the coffee from Thomas too! :)

Happy to see Mr Chia in the audience. I hope I get my solar facts right! :)

Thanks to James for being so optimistic about the sky when I have already given up a few hours before the talk. The sky turns out to be clear enough to observe Moon, Jupiter and Mars! Too busy setting up and manning the 10" dob and only got to see Moon through James' scope. Very contrasty and the 2-speed focuser is very smooth. As usual, once we start to help the first person to shoot Moon with his/her handphone, the rest of the queue saw and automatically took out theirs and standby. Thank goodness it's a tracking mount. :)

Manage to take a look at Mars through the 10" dob. At about 195x magnification, Syrtis Major was an obvious dark bluish patch. The ice cap was so shiny white! Better than what I saw during last week's Earth Hour sidewalk at Bishan Park because the seeing was better. Magnificent Mars indeed! Didn't have a chance to push the magnification more as the main focus was to let as many people see Mars as comfortably and as long as possible.

Sky was totally clouded from about 10:30pm. By the time the sky was drizzling, we have already packed up and enjoying our nice supper at the nearby McDonald's.

Once again, thanks to all who came especially the stargazing volunteers. Hope to see you all again for Spectacular Saturn!

Some handphone photos of the event:

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Earth Hour Stargazing 2014

Today we celebrate Earth Hour in Singapore. Organisations and individuals that support this movement will switch of their non-essential lightings from 8:30pm - 9:30pm.

The ambassador for this year is Spider-man.

The crew at has done a good job compiling all the stargazing related events, you can visit their webpage here -->

Basically, there are 6 locations celebrating Earth Hour which includes live stargazing session through telescopes and/or binoculars:

- SAFRA Jurong (near Boon Lay)
- Bishan Park (at open grounds in front of McDonald's)
- Kebun Bahru Heights Resident Committee (RC), Ang Mo Kio
- Woodlands Galaxy Community Club
- East Coast Park (near carpark D1)
- Marina Barrage rooftop

Timing wise, they are generally from sunset till at least 9:30pm.

These are great opportunities to stargaze with your friends and family and learn more about amateur astronomy and its related equipment.

Please observe proper stargazing etiquette when participating in such events:

- Do not touch any part of the telescope/binocular setup. You just need to look through the eyepiece which is attached to the telescope.
- Queue orderly and patiently wait for your turn.
- Do not shine bright lights in the observing area

Do take note stargazing events are totally weather dependent. In the event of bad weather, please check with the relevant event organiser for their latest updates.

Wishing all of you clear skies and happy stargazing!


Update 14 April 2014:

No need to go KL and even local my evening work appointment got postponed last minute. So decided to join and help out my astro friends at McDonald's Bishan Park. Too tired and didn't bring any telescope with me.

Disappointing weather in the late afternoon till sunset. Then the sky started clearing up. We had a good crowd looking through the telescopes deployed. Without the surrounding lights being switched off, most people didn't know realised it was Earth Hour. Nonetheless, we had good views of Mars and Jupiter!

We have not been stargazing there for a while. So some of the residents around the area were happy to see us.

Photos of Jupiter and Mars shot with my mobile phone handheld over the eyepiece of telescopes. Average sky conditions:

Friday, March 14, 2014

COSMOS, the wait is over!

33 years later, the wait for an updated and ground-breaking version of COSMOS is finally over!

COSMOS: A Spacetime Odyssey hosted by Dr Neil deGrasse Tyson will premiere in Singapore and Asia tomorrow evening!

Date: 15 March 2014 (Saturday)
Time: 10:00 pm Singapore local time (UT+8)
Channel: National Geographic Channel (StarHub TV Ch 411 and SingTel mio TV Ch 201)
Fox channels (StarHub TV Ch 503 & 507 and SingTel mio TV Ch 310 & 330)

You can watch more promotional videos from the official YouTube channel of National Geographic Channel Singapore.

On the same day 15 March at 8:00am in the morning Singapore time, catch the special 2-hour event "LIVE From Space" live on National Geographic Channel! Interact with astronauts on board International Space Station and Mission Control in Houston, Texas by using the Twitter hashtag #HelloFromEarth.

Still have no idea who is Dr Neil deGrasse Tyson and why you should watch COSMOS: A Spacetime Odyssey? Ok. Ignore the length of the following video and just click play. WARNING: You will not be able to stop watching until it is over. And at 39:11 minutes into the video, question from Singapore!

Anyone interested in winning some COSMOS memorabilia? Watch COSMOS and stay tuned for more information coming soon on this website!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Free stargazing talk - The Southern Constellations

The next public stargazing talk is titled "The Southern Constellations".

Date: Saturday, 1 Mar 2014
Time: 7:30pm - 8:30pm
Venue: Toa Payoh Public Library. Level 1 Programme Zone.

Admission is free. No pre-registration required. Late-comers welcomed!

Learn about the beautiful constellations in the southern sky and the cosmic "treasures" in them!

Weather permitting, live stargazing during/after the talk. Come see Jupiter, star clusters and nebula (star cloud) through telescopes!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

COSMOS Q&A at Jurong Regional Library

This is my video of Neil deGrasse Tyson's Q&A session with children at Jurong Regional Library.

Though the event was meant for children, I am very sure many adults will benefit from the wisdom shared and Neil's charismatic presentation style. Especially science educators in Singapore looking for ideas to engage young students. For example, how to explain a seemingly complex subject like parallax error to kids in a fun way.

Now that these videos are completed, can't wait to start blogging about the events of that magical 2 days in February 2014.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

COSMOS Q&A at National University of Singapore

For the rest of 2014, or perhaps for many years to come, nothing will beat what I had experienced last week on 13th and 14th of February.

I will definitely write a long blog (or mulit-part blog) about that experience and insights gained from interacting with Dr Neil deGrasse Tyson and Miss Ann Druyan. This will take sometime as my working schedule seems to get more and more busy as more and more interesting astronomical events are happening since the year started.

So in the meantime, enjoy watching my 46-minute video of the Q&A session conducted at National University of Singapore (Faculty of Science, LT27). Apologies for the camera auto-focusing problems in the first 11 minutes of the video.

For best experience, watch it in fullscreen HD. For those students who skipped class to attend this amazing event (aka pontang), please pray hard your lecturer can't identify you in the last part of the video. :)


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Dr Neil deGrasse Tyson and Ann Druyan in Singapore!

Dr Neil deGrasse Tyson and Ann Druyan will be visiting Singapore from 13 - 14 Feb 2014 to promote the epic upcoming TV series - COSMOS: A Spacetime Odyssey!! Premiering on 9 March 2014 in US, 15 March in Singapore, this 13-part series will be shown on National Geographic Channel.

Check out the official trailer by Fox:

Have not heard about COSMOS or Neil Tyson? Which exoplanet in which distant galaxy have you been hiding? :)

Watch this recent interview by Bill Moyers and you will be a fan! And join the 1.64 million people that are following him on Twitter @neiltyson!

And since Valentine's Day is this coming Friday, this is a nice video by Milky Way Musings to find out who is Ann Druyan!

Big thanks to the kind invitation by Fox International Channels (Singapore), I am extremely honoured to get a chance to participate in these COSMOS-related events for the next 2 days. Neil and Ann will be attending a press connference, question-and-answer session at National University of Singapore (Faculty of Science) and a light-hearted interaction with children at Jurong Regional Library! Please take note these events are not open to walk-in public.

For the latest news on about these events, please search for the official Twitter hashtag #COSMOSSG. I will be providing event updates via my Twitter account @astrosg.

There will be exclusive autographed photo prints of Neil and Ann to be given away as prizes! So follow my tweets to find out how to win them!

Ok. Now you can continue to Google/YouTube search on these two amazing souls!