Monday, October 6, 2014

Total Lunar Eclipse - 8 Oct 2014 (Wednesday)



On Wednesday 8 Oct, go to any location in Singapore with unobstructed view of the eastern horizon. From 6:52pm - 8:34pm, observe the Moon rising from the East.

There is a Total Lunar Eclipse happening on 8 October 2014 Wednesday.

Weather permitting, this is visible from Singapore and many other countries but not from Europe or Africa.

Here are the timings of the different phases of the eclipse in Singapore Standard Time (UT +8) rounded down to nearest minute.

TOTAL LUNAR ECLIPSE - 8 OCT 2014 (WED):

Penumbral Eclipse Begins          =   4:15 pm   (not visible, below horizon)
Partial Eclipse Begins (Umbra)  =   5:14 pm   (not visible, below horizon)
Total Eclipse Begins:                  =   6:25 pm   (not visible, below horizon)
Moon rise                                    =   6:52 pm   (rises from east at azimuth 83°)
Greatest Eclipse:                         =   6:54 pm
Total Eclipse Ends:                     =   7:24 pm
Partial Eclipse Ends (Umbra)     =   8:34 pm
Penumbral Eclipse Ends:            =   9.33 pm

(Source:  NASA Eclipse Website, Fred Espenak)

In the context of a Lunar Eclipse:

Umbra = inner, darker shadow of Earth.
Penumbra = outer, lighter shadow of Earth.

Image Credit: Wikipedia 

In the following simulation of Moon as seen from Earth during this eclipse, the inner circle represents umbra shadow of Earth and the other circle represents the penumbra shadow of Earth.


Image Credit: Wikipedia

Thus, the visually more exciting part of a Total Lunar Eclipse is from the beginning till the end of the umbra phase, i.e. from 5:14pm - 8:34pm. Since Moon only rises from 6:52pm from Singapore on that day, we will not be able to see the first half of the umbra phase.

If someone ask you how to observe this eclipse in Singapore, just ask them to read this blog. :)

Or, give them the shorter version - the first paragraph of this blog.

This is a timelapse video of the Total Lunar Eclipse in 2011 shot from Singapore by my friend Ivan Bok:




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Additional notes:

(1) The ability to observe Total Lunar Eclipse, like all astronomical event, is totally dependent on the weather. So manage your expectation as there is always a possibility of not seeing it due to bad weather - rain, cloud, haze, ...etc.

Moreover, the atmosphere near horizon is more turbulent compared to higher altitude. Even if you can spot the Moon very early just above the horizon, it may look fuzzy or slightly distorted.

Having said that, if there is only very thin layer of clouds and/or haze, Moon may still be visible through them, especially during a Full Moon phase in this case.

(2) Due to the haze situation, you may not find it safe to observe it outdoors. In that case, observe it indoors through windows or glass wall instead! Find one with a good unobstructed view of the east where the Moon will be rising.

(3) If you can't go to a location with unobstructed view of the eastern horizon (e.g. beach), try observing the eclipse from a tall building (e.g. roof-top garden, multi-storey carpark).

(4) If you have a telescope or even an old pair of binocular, trying observing the Moon with it. Unlike solar eclipse, lunar eclipse is very safe to observe with our eyes alone or through optical instruments. You don't need to observe it via its reflection off a pail of water. :)

(5) If you have camera, videocamera with decent optical zoom, try zooming in on Moon and take some photos and videos. Check out these incredible mega-zoom camcorder videos in this blog.

(6) The eclipse will happen near the horizon. At the end of umbra, it is only 23° above horizon. If you are into photography, you can make use of this fact to frame both the Moon and some nearby interesting terrestrial objects in your composition.

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*Weather permitting*, my friends and I will be at Bishan Park McDonald's this Wednesday to observe the eclipse. From that location, there is a good view of the eastern horizon.

We will be bringing our telescopes along for public viewing and to take eclipse photos through these telescopes with mobile phones.

Feel free to join us there with your family and friends!

Check my tweets for the latest updates on that day --> http://www.twitter.com/astrosg

Have fun observing this eclipse. Good luck and clear skies to all!




Saturday, October 4, 2014

Free Stargazing Talk - Sun, Moon & Eclipses



The next public stargazing talk is titled "Sun, Moon & Eclipses".

Date: Saturday, 4 October 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!

Sun, Moon and Earth lining up in a straight line - an extraordinary celestial wonder that has fascinated human civilisation for millennia and many more to come!

Come attend this talk to see for yourselves how they look like and understand the basic astronomical concepts involved. With this understanding, you will be able to enjoy observing them even more.

Eclipses actually happen quite frequently but appears very rare to the general public because they do not know in advance when and where to look for them.

Learn how to read eclipse charts and find out about upcoming solar and lunar eclipses. There is even one visible from Singapore next Wednesday early evening!

Weather permitting, we will be conducting live stargazing during/after the talk. My friends and I will be deploying our telescopes just outside the main entrance of the library.

So bring your family and friends along and join in the fun!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Public Stargazing at SAFRA Jurong - 13 Sept 2014


Weather permitting, there will a free public stargazing session at SAFRA Jurong tonight from 7:45pm. Admission is free. Telescopes will be deployed for stargazing.

For more info, please contact SAFRA Jurong at 6686 4333 or email them at jrclub@safra.sg.

The are located at  333 Boon Lay Way Singapore 649848 (near Boon Lay MRT station):






Saturday, September 6, 2014

Free Stargazing Talk - Binocular Astronomy



The next public stargazing talk is titled "Binocular Astronomy".

Date: Saturday, 6 September 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!

Enjoy looking through the telescope with one eye?

Why not use both of them through a binocular?

In this talk, you will learn how to observe the sky with a pair of binocular and how to choose a pair that is suitable for you if you intend to get one in the future.

Come attend this info-taining multimedia talk and discover these treasures in the sky that looks amazing especially through a pair of binocular. Participants will also be taught how to read a printed sky map which will be distributed during the talk (while stock lasts).

Since it is also Mid-Autumn Festival (aka Mooncake Festival), I will also talk about some interesting lunar facts near the end of the talk.

On the same evening, there is mid-autumn festival celebration just outside Toa Payoh Public Library. There will be a stargazing booth managed by members from Singastro Forum. Weather permitting, do take a look at the stars, moon and planets through these telescopes!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Free Stargazing Talk - The Summer Triangle


The next public stargazing talk is titled "The Summer Triangle".

Date: Saturday, 2 August 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!

Three bright stars from three constellations form the asterism known as the Summer Triangle. And our Milky Way galaxy cuts right across it! Some of the most spectacular celestial objects will remain "hidden" in these constellations to those who do not know their of their existence, let alone trying to find them in the sky.

So come attend this info-taining multimedia talk and discover these treasures in the sky. Participants will also be taught how to read a printed sky map which will be distributed during the talk (while stock lasts).

Weather permitting, there will be live stargazing during or after the talk at the open grounds just outside the main entrance of Toa Payoh Public Library. Come see the Moon, Mars, Saturn, star clusters. star clouds up close and personal through our telescopes!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Singapore Science Festival Sidewalk Astronomy


As tweeted a couple of weeks ago, the Singapore Science Festival for this year is from 18 July to 3 August 2014. This festival is jointly organised by the Agency for Science, Technology & Research (A*STAR) and the Science Centre Singapore.

Various science related activities have been conducted. The most interesting activity to us amateur astronomers will be their Sidewalk Astronomy sessions at various locations in Singapore on the same evening on Friday 1 August 2014.

These live stargazing sessions are of course *weather dependent* as usual.

From the Science Festival official Facebook page, these are the locations:

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(1) SCOB – Science Centre Observatory
15 Science Centre Rd, Singapore 609081

(2) Yew Tee : Outside Yew Tee MRT (Between Yew Tee Square & Yew Tee Shopping Mall)
Venue provider Yew Tee RC Zone 10
61 Choa Chu Kang Drive

(3) Paya Lebar Methodist School (Basketball court at level 3)
298 Lorong Ah Soo, Singapore 536741
Location Map

(4) Christchurch Secondary School
20 Woodlands Drive 17, Singapore 737924

(5) Toa Payoh Public Library
6 Toa Payoh Central, Singapore 319191

(6) Ang Mo Kio Ave 10 Area between Blk 453A & Blk 449

The official contact person of this Sidewalk Astronomy session is Mr Alfred Lim from Science Centre Singapore. His email is alfred_lim@science.edu.sg.

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Work schedule permitting, I may drop by at Toa Payoh Public Library to participate in the activities on that day. Inside the library, they will be various short talks conducted at 7:45pm, 8:10pm and 8:35pm.

Children can also take part in the sundial making activity in the library's activity room.

This is the poster of the event outside the library's Programme Zone:


Weather permitting, live stargazing through telescopes at open grounds just outside the main entrance of the library from 7:45pm to 10pm. This is the same regular spot where we conduct sidewalk astronomy sessions at Toa Payoh Central.



Do follow my tweets for more updated information about Science Festival activities at Toa Payoh Public Library. Wishing all participants having a good time on that day learning more about the oldest science known to human being!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Free Stargazing Talk - Meteor Showers



The next public stargazing talk is titled "Meteor Showers".

Date: Saturday, 5 July 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!


Stars do not shoot around in the Universe! :)

Attend this astronomy talk to find out more about Meteor Showers - what they really are, how and when to observe them.

Weather permitting, there will be live stargazing during or after the talk at the open grounds just outside the main entrance of Toa Payoh Public Library. Come see the Moon, Mars, Saturn, star clusters. star clouds up close and personal through our telescopes!

Feel free to join in the fun with your family and friends. And for soccer fans, you may catch free live screenings of World Cup Quarter-finals at Toa Payoh Central Community Club which is just across the street.