Monday, January 14, 2013

Public Stargazing in Singapore

There are currently 3 main ways to enjoy stargazing in Singapore with very little or no cost. One can just participate in the events organised by:

(1) SINGASTRO Forum 

- Weather permitting.
- Free. Open to Public.
- No fix regular day in a month.
- Mainly impromptu sessions subjected to schedule of forum members.
- 2 of the most active sessions now are at open space outside Toa Payoh Public Library and in front of McDonald's at Bishan - Ang Mo Kio Park.
- More info --> SINGASTRO observations and events forum

(2) Science Centre Observatory

- Weather permitting.
- Free. Open to Public.
- Every Friday evening at Singapore Science Centre's Observatory.
- From: 7:45pm - 10:00pm
- More info -->
- FaceBook -->
- Twitter -->

(3) Galaxy Astronomy Club

- Weather permitting.
- $1 charge per visit.
- Every Friday & Saturday evening at Woodlands Galaxy Community Club (formerly Admiralty CC)
- More info -->
- FaceBook -->
- Twitter -->

Please take note stargazing sessions are totally weather dependent. Such sessions can be cancelled very last minute due to bad weather. Please kindly contact the organisers for the latest updates if you intend to attend such sessions.

Perhaps the most efficient way to get their updates online is via Twitter. So you may want to check their latest tweets on your phone even when you are on your way to the event venue.

Some basic but important etiquette to observe during public stargazing sessions:

(1) Do NOT touch any part of the telescope setup. Parents please kindly remind your children about this when it is their turn to observe through the telescope and if need be, physically ensure your children are not touching it.

(2) Do NOT take flash photography inside the dark observatory domes. This will temporary "blind" everyone inside and prevent them from enjoying a better view with their dark-adapted eyes. A brightly lit handphone screen can have such a "blinding" effect too. So dim down your phones screens or better still, refrain from using it in such dark rooms.

(3) NO SMOKING around the telescopes. Even if the stargazing event is conducted in a place where smoking is not prohibited, participants should be considerate and refrain from smoking near the telescopes. The second-hand smoke is not only harmful to human health but may also damage the coating of the telescopic optics.

(4) After you have look through the telescopes, do NOT hold up the queue by doing the following:
- Standing in front of the telescope and asking the telescope operator a lot of questions.
- Trying to take a photo with your camera or phone through the telescope eyepiece. Unless the queue is really short or the crowd is really small AND the telescope owner gives you permission or encourage you to do so upon your request. When in doubt, please ask.

(5) Do NOT demand the telescope to be re-positioned to view different objects. Especially for large observatories with long queues, you will most probably get to see only one object which is deemed best to be observed by the telescope operator. There may be other smaller telescopes deployed around the event area. You may request to look at different objects through them subjected to the approval of those telescope operators.

If everyone can observe the above-mentioned and exercise basic kindness, then everyone can get to enjoy the views in a fair and efficient manner.

Important thing to take note is that these telescope owners and operators are volunteering their equipment, time and effort for free. So try not to be demanding but instead be nice to them. The happier they are, the more willing they are to show you more amazing stuff and answer your questions. :)

If you are conducting free public stargazing sessions in Singapore and would like to be listed here, please feel free to drop me an email at gary[at]

(Last Updated: 14 Jan 2013)

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