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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Memoirs of an amateur astronomer

Foreword: I am really trying to write a proper memoir but I'm currently writing this while being surrounded by technicians and contractors shouting hokien and Malay at each other, so please forgive me if I start punctuating my sentences with f*** and other colourful words. If you find this post too long, just scroll down to the part where it says "In Summary"

So here it goes:

Dear all scobbers,

Today marks my last day here at Science Centre! It's only been 8 months but for some reason it feels like I've been here for reaaaallly long.

The 1st time I saw the observatory was during my orientation, with Andrew as my buddy. I remembered the mouldy smell and the dust and the stuffiness(don't really know if there's such a word) and also the er herm messiness. And I thoughtI would most probably not be involved in the observatory and for that, I was a little relieved=)

But of cos I have to add that the observatory is so lovely and cosy and welcoming now! With aircon! And art works of so many visitors! And it's soooooo neat now after the spring cleaning!

Anyway, after I started working here for sometime, I got roped in somehow. (actually I can't really remember how it all happened except that I responded "yes" to one of andrew's email invite)At that time, I didn't know much about astronomy(in fact, I don't even know the order of the planets then)

And the rest of the memory became abit fuzzy and furry. (I don't think most memoirs are like this but you just have to put up with me)Though, I do remember that I started off being the guest relations officer(nice title I came up for myself hehe) Initially, I felt inadequate because I couldn't answer so many questions (like which telescope is the best, where the black hole is and so on and so forth)

But I'll always remember how I got nearly all my astro knowledge from SK in one session itself, with just her laser pointer and a pair of binoculars. And hearing her explaining the superstitions and significance of stars to certain cultures was absolutely enchanting. That was the first time I really started to love astronomy=)

And I also remembered how Albert from TASOS became my idol, for being so patient and so non-judgemental( he answers my dumb questions with a smile!) And for being so wise and informed in astronomy!

And then Andrew left for UK, which was a traumatising period for me(imagine doing observatory with a moody Yong every Fri, though I think Yong was moody bcos he misses Andrew)

So many people, so many thanks.

In summary:

To Andrew: Thanks for always asking me "Are you all right?" during observatory hahas!

To Yong: Thanks for all the liquids you brought, liquids that I've never tried before until this year.

To SK: Thanks for all your patience and encouragement and for being so giving! You're the sister I always wanted!

To Alfred: Thanks for teaching me how to set up the telescopes and for entertaining me with your jokes and antics!

To Valdrick(don't know how to spell your name) aka Val-val: Thanks for keeping me company! You're the son I want to have in future!

To the cat at the observatory: Meow meow meeeeeeeow! Miao! Meeeeeeee--meee---ow! (Translation: Thanks for letting me pet you! You're the 1st cat I ever petted!)

To Everlyne: Thanks for hmmm hmmmm hmmmm. (pause)I can't think of anything to thank you for. HAHAHAHAHAHAS. All right I thank you for entertaining me during the recent eclipse event=)

Okay this is getting wayyyyy too long. Signing off here!

(PS: I'll be back)

The Thing

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Friday, August 14, 2009

tonight's sky - 14th Aug

The sky tonight is.......CLOUDY! There is a familiar dull grey covering across the sky in the picture above, nicely taken by SK at 7:10pm.

Conditions do not look good.
Don't know if Jupiter's brightness can break through at about 9pm

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Today's Google logo shows this:

And that means it is a special occasion, and you should be verrrrrrrry excited.

It is the 2009 Perseid meteor shower!

The name Perseid originates from the constellation Perseus which the meteoroids appear to come from. (The meteoroids do not actually come from Perseus. Perseus is made up of stars light years away, while these meteoroids are only miles away, passing through our atmosphere.) This meteor shower is an annual event which happens every year early August. The Earth passes through rock and dust fragments left behind by the comet Swift-Tuttle, and as these small particles collide with the Earth’s atmosphere, they burn-up, often creating a beautiful streak of light across the sky.

Can we see this meteor shower in Singapore? Andrew says yes☺. Face eastward tonight (slightly to the north) and look high up from 11pm to 5am, it is going to be a wonderous spectacle. But it would require a relatively clear sky and what you see may be affected by the brightness of the moon. As always, the darker the better. Depending on the sky conditions you may see about 10- 20 meteors per hour. The peak time for meteor showers is usually around 2am to 4am.

Note that you need just your naked eye to see the meteor shower, a pair of binos may come in useful if you have one. It is best to have a comfortable chair or mat that you can rest on and gaze at the sky for a few hours.

We wish you luck.

Check out NASA's article on Perseids here.
Source: IYA2009, Sky and Telescope

A short video of what you may see:

Friday, August 7, 2009

Thursday, August 6, 2009

How does Andrew the Awesome take pictures of the sky? and other photos.

Efforts to get the moon into the frame...

Where's the MOON???
To see this photo taken by Andrew, scroll down to see last Friday's post :)

The Obs Cat peeping at us...

...before retreating into her hiding place.

Yong the Evil Fungi is back from Space Camp!
And finally, a moon photo from a few evenings ago...