Newsletter for January 2009 is here!

The Portal for Astronomy in Singapore Newsletter for January 2009 is here!

Happy International Year of Astronomy 2009 everyone!

New IYA2009 Portal @

This newsletter came late because of this. I've made a new site to track all the happenings this very eventful year. It features an Events Calendar which I'll try my best to keep updated, among other stuff. Do check it out! Best viewed in Firefox.

Science in the Café on 14 January

There's this talk on Astrobiology coming up on 14 January, at the Singapore Science Centre. Paul Davies was one of the speakers on life on Mars a few years back in NTU, and is the chairman of SETI too.

Science Centre Singapore
Centre for Quantum Technologies, NUS

cordially invite you to


Science in the Café

on Wednesday, 14 January 2009 at 7:00pm

to be held in

The Newton Room, Science Centre Singapore


Professor Paul Davies
Director of BEYOND: Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science
Arizona State University

who asks


Is There A Shadow Biosphere On Earth?

Please see below for more information.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Attendance is free of charge but pre-registration is required.

Reservations are accepted on a first-come-first-served basis due to limited seating.

Please make your reservations by directly replying to this Announcement, or, online through on or before 12 January 2009.

Science Centre Singapore thanks the Centre for Quantum Technologies, NUS for bringing us this learning opportunity.

Is There A Shadow Biosphere On Earth?

Are we alone in the universe? This biggest of the big questions of existence hinges on the probability that life emerges from a mixture of non-living chemicals. Is life on Earth a statistical fluke, or is there a “life principle” built into the laws of nature, so that life is almost bound to occur wherever there are earth-like conditions? Many astrobiologists believe the latter is the case, but how can their hypothesis be tested? No planet is more earth-like than Earth itself, so if there is a life principle at work in the universe then life should have started many times on Earth. This raises the fascinating possibility that there is a shadow biosphere populated by microbial descendants of other biogenesis events. In my talk, I shall outline strategies for finding a shadow biosphere and ask, could there be alien organisms living right under our noses?

Paul Davies

… is a theoretical physicist and cosmologist, and currently, works in astrobiology, a new field of research that seeks to understand the origin and evolution of life, and to search for life beyond Earth. He was born in London, and spent most of his life in the UK. From 1990 to 2006, he lived in Australia. He moved to Arizona State University (ASU) to be the founding director of BEYOND: Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science in September 2006. In 2008, he was also appointed co-director of the ASU Cosmology Initiative. His interests are very broad, extending from the highly mathematical to the deeply philosophical, such as pondering the big questions of existence: How did the universe begin? What is the destiny of mankind? Is there a meaning to the universe? Along with publishing scientific papers, he has also written several books and articles for popular newsp apers and magazines, and produced several radio and television programmes.

Visit the main link @

Annular Solar Eclipse on 26 January

After a 10-year solar eclipse drought, we’re fortunate enough to have two solar eclipses for Singapore in the IYA2009 calendar!

The first solar eclipse of 2009 occurs at the Moon's ascending node in western Capricornus. An annular eclipse will be visible from a wide track that traverses the Indian Ocean and western Indonesia. A partial eclipse will be seen within the much larger path of the Moon's penumbral shadow, which includes the southern third of Africa, Madagascar, Australia except Tasmania, southeast India, Southeast Asia and Indonesia.

The solar eclipse will occur on the 26th of January, which also happens to be the first day of Chinese New Year. As of right now, there are two sun gazing sessions I am currently aware of.

NUS Astro is organising one in their football field.

Date: 26 January 2009, Monday
Time: 2:30PM to 6:30PM; the Moon will cover the Sun at about 3.30 pm
Venue: NUS Football Field

Singapore Science Centre will also be having a session at their observatory.

Date: 26 January 2009, Monday
Time: 4:30PM to 7:00PM; time of maximal eclipse 5:49 PM
Venue: The Observatory (at the Omni-Theatre building)

Visit the main link @

Weekly Stargazing Sessions at Singapore Science Centre

Well, if you are unaware, the Singapore Science Centre has been organising free-to-enter stargazing sessions for a few years already. For 2009, it will be no different. Every Friday, 8pm to 10pm, at The Observatory. Just walk in and say hi.

Time: 7.50pm - 10.00pm every Friday
Venue: The Observatory (at the Omni-Theatre building)

You can even look out for their themed Observatory evenings, which include Valentine's Day, Mid-Autumn Festival and Halloween.

For more information, please visit:

Visit the main link @

Talk by TASOS on 16 January

I don't really have much information on this, but The Astronomical Society of Singapore (TASOS) is having some talk about something on the 16th of January. It will be at The Observatory classroom (the room beneath the observatory).

Date: 16 January 2009, Friday
Time: 7.30pm - 9.00pm
Venue: The Observatory (at the Omni-Theatre building)

Visit the main link @

Have a great year ahead!



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