Astronomy.SG Newsletter for December 2009 is here!

The Portal for Astronomy in Singapore

Astronomy.SG Newsletter for December 2009 is here!

If you have trouble viewing this newsletter, please click here. DEC 2009

Welcome again to our monthly newsletter on Astronomy happenings in Singapore, which features the month's events, news, tips and tricks, promotions, and reviews. We hope you enjoy it!

Features for this month:


  • Geminids Star Party 2009
    Catch the Geminids Meteor Shower together with other Astronomy enthusiasts!
  • Semakau Stargazing Trip
    A trip to Pulau Semakau for the best skies far away from the city, but sadly no more tickets are available.
  • Astrobash XXIV
    An annual trip organised by NUS Astronomical Society, but registration is closed.
  • Project SOAP
    Acronym for the School Outreach Astronomy Programs (SOAP), I think it's quite self-explanatory.
  • Punggai Astronomy Trip
    Part of a series of monthly trips to Punggai for its great skies. The last one of the year, but no worries, there are more planned for next year.
  • Stargazing @ MPCC
    The usual monthly stargazing at Marine Parade.
  • Christmas Appreciation Party
    A rather unique and interesting way to bring IYA2009 to closure. Some awards will be given out as well.
  • Jam It 2010
    A countdown party by AGCC, but we're lacking information.

Celestial Highlights:

  • Geminids Meteor Shower
    Quite possible the most reliable meteor shower in Singapore, Geminids has returned without last year's full moon.

News & Reports:

  • Website Downtime
    Last month, we encountered a serious downtime that affected thousands of visitors for over a week. We offer you our apologies and explanation.
  • 2009: A Year in Review
    The International Year of Astronomy 2009 approaches its final month. Let's look back at the events that marked the year.


Website Downtime

Our website was recently down for 10 days as we experienced several technical difficulties. On 18 Nov 2009, we suffered a denial-of-service attack on the server on which our website was hosted in, rendering it inaccessible. To deal with the problem, we migrated to another server with a different IP address. The process of recovery and transfer took longer than we expected, but after several days of troubleshooting, we are finally back online.

The attack was targeting the IP address of the server, and not our website in particular, so this shouldn’t happen again in the near future. The downtime has affected the thousands of visitors reaching our website everyday, stemming from popularity of the Leonids Meteor Shower.

We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience and frustration caused, and thank you for visiting our website.


Original article and more information can be found at


2009: A Year in Review

Looking back, we can see that Singapore’s astronomy scene is not dull at all. Organised, coordinated, and/or supported by a wide range of individuals, groups and organisations, these events have served to popularise astronomy on top of the innate enjoyment and enrichment one gets from “doing” astronomy. Our tally of events for the whole year is as follows: 14 camps & overseas trips, 7 competitions, 25 talks, 86 star-gazings and 4 celestial events/others. The numbers are actually a rough gauge, as some events overlap two or more categories. For the sake of not over-counting we categorise each event according to its primary purpose. For example, all the 14 camps & overseas trips actually include star-gazing, but we have classified them as “camps & overseas trips”. To sum up, there are a lot of activities indeed.

Numbers aside, we would like to recognise the following people and organisations for having organised all the events listed on They are in no particular order (okay actually there is – have fun guessing!). The list is, of course, non-exhaustive, and we hope we have not missed out too many groups and people. We know, too, of many unsung heroes who have worked tirelessly behind the scenes and behind their organisation’s name. We would like to thank them for their efforts, without which, I dare say, many events would not have come about, much less envisioned at all.

Raffles Girls’ School (Secondary) Science Club (Scitaré)
Hwa Chong Institution (Junior College) Astronomy Club
Nanyang Technological University Astronomical Society
Bukit Panjang Government High School Science Team
National University of Singapore Astronomical Society
Raffles Institution (Junior College) Astronomy Club
Lee Kuan Yew Distinguished Visitors Programme
Anglo-Chinese Junior College Astronomy Society
Raffles Institution (Secondary) Science Club
Anderson Junior College Astronomy Club
The Astronomical Society of Singapore
Nanyang Polytechnic Astronomy Club
Marine Parade Astronomical Society
Robin Low (Staroptics Scientific)
Admiral Garden Astronomy Club
Koh Joo Beng (Astro Bargains)
Science Centre Singapore
Au Mun Chew
A/P Phil Chan
Gavin Khoo
Carole Aw

We hope that has enabled more people to know more about Singapore’ astronomy scene, thus fulfilling its primary purpose. Not just looking forward, by seeing what new events there are, but also looking back, for is also an archive of events.

And looking forward, we would like to call for astronomy enthusiasts to contribute to our website, be it in the form of articles, reviews or simply the sharing of news. Although may have been conceived at the start of the International Year of Astronomy, the website will not end with the close of the IYA. We welcome you!


Original article and more information can be found at


Geminids Star Party 2009

Dates: 12 Dec – 13 Dec 2009
Time: 8:00pm – 8:00am
Venue: Changi Beach Park (please click to see map)

Catch Geminids Meteor Shower a day before its peak!
View the Winter Deep Sky Objects via the Telescopes
Planets can be seen – Jupiter, Mars, Saturn.

MPASTRO is  giving away IYA-sponsored items and bottled water (while stocks last).

Getting there: Changi Beach Park is served by SBS Transit bus services 9, 19 and 89 at several bus stops along its length. These bus stops are among the closest to the coast you can find in Singapore. By taking these buses, visitors can alight along Nicoll Drive. Visitors can also take bus services 2, 29, 59 and 109 to Changi Village and 5 minutes of walk across the pedestrian footbridge to the park.

Activity Type: Suitable for age 12 and above.

In case of rain – MP ASTRO will inform the participants 3 hours in advance if there are any changes to the schedule.

Time Activity
8pm – 9pm Star-gazing for public
9pm – 10pm Space Treasure Hunt / Star-gazing for public
10pm – 11pm DSO Challenge
11 pm – 12am Marshmallow Campfire Competition
12am – 8am Meteor-gazing

The public star-gazing consists of a short tour with the aid of a laser to introduce the constellations you can see in the sky.

To register, please send an email with your name, NRIC no. and contact number.

Game Activity
For students only!
There will be an on-spot briefing on instructions and rules.

Space Treasure Hunt
In pairs – be the fastest to solve all the clues!
Winning pair will receive a GV Movie Voucher each.

DSO Challenge
Individual Round and must have a telescope – be the fastest to locate the list of objects!
Winner will receive the book “Turn Left At Orion”.

Marshmallow Campfire Competition
In pairs – be the fastest to start a fire and roast 5 marshmallows
Winning pair will receive 2 free tickets each to Pulau Semakau on 19 December.

To register for the games, please send an email with your name, NRIC no. and contact number.

Please note the following if you are attending the Geminids Star Party:

1. Come Prepared
2. Remember to bring a red light if you plan on wandering around the site and arrive before dark so you can familiarise yourself with the site. A simple way to create one is to wrap red cellophane over the bulb/LED of the flashlight.
3. Children are more than welcome to attend but need to be supervised at all times, as there are a lot of potential trip hazards, and expensive equipment set up in the area.

Original article and more information can be found at

Semakau Stargazing Trip

Semakau - tickets sold out

Note: tickets are all sold out.

Original article and more information can be found at

Astrobash XXIV


Come this December, NUSAS will organise a 3D2N trip to Bintan Island!

This overseas stargazing trip to catch the Geminids Meteor Shower organised by NUSAS is available to all at a very affordable cheap price of $160 ($150 for members and ex-Astrobashers)! This year, we will be watching it during its peak, and with the new moon in place, the night sky will simply be spectacular!

Start: Monday, December 14, 2009 at 8:00am
End Time: Wednesday, December 16, 2009 at 6:00am
Location: Nirwana Beach Club, Bintan Island
Phone: 96361250

Signups have closed. For latest updates, please visit

Original article and more information can be found at

Project SOAP

MPASTRO will be conducting free classes on the following dates:
20 Nov, 28 Nov, 4 Dec, 15 Dec, 22 Dec and 29 Dec

The class timing is from 7:30pm – 9:30pm except for class on 28 Nov.
Students who are in Primary 5, 6 and Seconday 1 to 5 are eligible to participate.
Please send your enquiry to

About School Outreach Astronomy Programs (S.O.A.P)

S.O.A.P is a non-profit Astronomy outreach programme organize by Marine Parade CC YEC Astronomical Society (MPASTRO), where workshops and weekly classes will be conducted for all secondary school students with a keen interest in Astronomy. The workshops and classes (can be conducted at individual participating secondary schools) consist of educational talks, interactive discussions and games, including a telescope viewing session where students will have a first-hand experience of looking through the telescope for sky observations, as well as learning how to operate a telescope. The workshops will be using problem-based learning (PBL) teaching and learning approach in order to improve students’ learning experience in the subject of Astronomy rather then the traditional lecture-tutorial approach.

PBL is a revolutionary and radical teaching approach. It is completely different from the traditional lecture-tutorial approach as there is a shift of power from the “expert teacher” to the “student learner”.

S.O.A.P is an initiative by MPASTRO to enrich students in Astronomy and serves as a platform to broaden their exposure to various aspects of the field (in astronomy) ranging from geography to sciences like chemistry and physics. More importantly, we hopes to ignite in the students a life-long passion for Astronomy, and to maximize the potential of every individual by creating a culture of lifelong learning and to instil the ability in each learner the ability to reason.

Original article and more information can be found at

Punggai Astronomy Trip

Registration for this month's trip is closed, but do have a look at the planned trips for next year.

Listed below are the plans for trips to Punggai, Malaysia, in 2010 (subject to change). As they are generally held over weekends for convenience, do feel free to join in, especially on those where you may be able to catch a good view of a meteor shower!

Month Date Meteor shower
Jan 15-17 Quadrantids
Mar 19-21
Apr 16-18 Lyrids
May 14-16 Aquarids
Jun 11-13
Jul 9-11
Aug 13-15 Perseids
Sep 3-5 Orionids



Generally, the group will depart on Friday night around 8pm, meeting at a set place. Depending on how many people sign up, transport may be in the form of 12-seater van or by coach. On the last day, the van will depart the chalet at 10 am.

If you are interested, please email Carole at yenaw @ pacific . net . sg (without the spaces).

The closing date is 1 month prior to the trip.

Original article and more information can be found at

Christmas Appreciation Party

MPASTRO Management would like to invite various astronomy clubs in Singapore to nominate a person/club for the following awards. They would like to recognise their efforts in promoting astronomy in Singapore at the Christmas Appreciation Party 2009 where an awards ceremony will be taking place. (Nomination period is over.)

This Christmas Appreciation Party is also to mark the end of the International Year of Astronomy 2009. To celebrate our local youth achievement in promoting Astronomy in Singapore.

The following Awards are up for grabs:
1. Best Astronomer Award
2. Most Active Astronomy Club Award
3. Best Performing Astronomy Club Award

The award descriptions in detail are as follows:

1. Best Astronomer Award
There are 2 categories – Teen/Youth
Teen Category is for ages 12 – 18
Youth Category is for ages 19 – 25

2. Most Active Astronomy Club Award
There is 1 Category – open to all schools only

3. Best Performing Astronomy Club Award
There is 1 Category – open to all schools only

The winner will receive a star trophy and a Galileoscope!

All results will be announced only during the party. The party will be held at Ubin Lodge, Pulau Ubin, on 24 Dec. It starts at noon, with overnight optional.

Note: this event was formerly known as the IYA Thanksgiving Party.

Original article and more information can be found at

Jam It 2010

On New Year’s Eve, AGASTRO will be organising Jam It 2010 (Countdown) at the Woodlands Civic Centre.

We don't have much information yet. Ticket sales will open soon, so check back on our site to find out more!

Original article and more information can be found at

Stargazing @ MPCC


MPASTRO aims to provide opportunities for the public to enjoy and learn about astronomy at the comfort of their neighbourhood (especially people in the east), as well as maximize night-sky observation experiences with their own next-door neighbours.

The stargazing session will acheive that objective and it consists of a lecture and a telescope viewing session at the CC’s roof top.

Time: 7:30pm – 9:00pm

Venue: Marine Parade Community Centre

Suitable for all ages.

Registration begin from 7:15pm at the registration booth beside MPCC Office.

For the latest updates, please refer to

Original article and more information can be found at



Geminids Meteor Shower


Occurring every year in mid-December, the Geminid meteor shower is commonly referred to as the most reliable meteor shower of the year. That is, it almost always puts on a great show!

The Geminid meteor shower is sure to be a stunning show this year, as the Moon will not be visible at night, so its glow will not impede your meteor viewing ability. In addition, the Geminids’ radiant is favorably positioned for most viewers at this time of year. In order to see the most meteors, I suggest the following tips:

  • The Geminid meteor shower has a very broad maximum peak. Because of this, the night on which you view the meteors isn’t critical. You will of course, see more meteors on the peak nights. This year the Geminid meteor shower’s peak is the night of December 13th-14th, 2009.
  • The best time to view a meteor shower is in the late night to early morning hours. The best time to view a meteor shower typically begins around 2 AM. This is because as the Earth rotates toward dawn, the forward velocity of the planet adds to the linear velocity of the surface and atmosphere. This has the effect of “sweeping up” more meteors.
  • If you’re not normally awake at 2 AM, like many people, simply go to sleep very early and set an alarm clock to wake you up to view the meteor shower. Trust me on this point, it is definitely worth it.
  • The Geminid meteor shower’s radiant is right near the twin bright stars Castor and Pollux in Gemini. Click the image at top right to see a map (thanks to Stellarium). The trick, however, isn’t to look towards the radiant, but to keep your eyes on the whole sky. While it’s impossible to look at the whole sky, just keep your eyes scanning and alert. This increases your chances of seeing a fleeting meteor or one out of the corner of your eye.
  • Darkness is key to proper meteor shower viewing. If you live in a city or other light polluted area, try going to a dark sky site to truly experience a meteor shower. You might be surprised how close a dark sky site is to you! Here are some tips on finding a dark sky near you.
  • Keep comfortable, too! I’ve found the best way to watch meteor showers is either laying down in a sleeping bag, or on an Adirondack or other reclining lawn chair. This allows you to keep your eyes on the sky without straining your neck!
  • Keep safe! If you’re traveling to an unknown or unfamiliar area to watch the meteor shower, don’t travel alone! Take a buddy with you. Not only is this great for safety, but meteor showers should be a social event, and are fun to share with a friend!
  • Green lasers are great for pointing out celestial objects. I use one to point out objects to people, and it works much better than trying to point with your hand. Just be careful with it and do not use a laser more powerful than 5 mW.
  • Finally, if you’re feeling ambitious, take pictures! This is a real challenge, but if you’re up to it, it’s a very rewarding challenge. You’ll need a tripod and a camera that can take long exposures. Set your exposure for somewhere around 30 seconds and let it record the whole sky. If a meteor crosses the field of view, it will be captured, and you can keep it forever!

So using these tips, you can get the most out of your Geminid viewing experience!

From Universe Today


Original article and more information can be found at



Astro Bargains' Deals of the Month

Bosma Beta RE 3.15? T f/6.3 Achromatic Refractor Complete Kit – $469

Bosma Beta RE 3.15

This complete spotting telescope kit includes an 80mm aperture refractor with a 500mm focal length. It includes 10mm and 25mm plossl eyepieces, a 5X24 erecting finderscope; 45° prism diagonal, moon filter, solar filter; a very stable camera tripod, and carrying cases.

Order a 90° 1.25? 1/10th wave diagonal for astronomy use, at the bundle price of S$39 (regularly S$49).

Orion StarBlast 4.5 Equatorial Reflector Telescope – $639

Orion Starblast 4.5EQ

Wide-field optics, easy to use, the StarBlast EQ is an excellent starting set to see the stars, the Moon and more. It combines the much-heralded StarBlast wide-field (f/4.0) parabolic optics with a sturdy, adjustable-height EQ-1 equatorial tracking mount.

This version of the StarBlast offers an even more pronounced wide-field viewing experience, with two Expanse series eyepieces — 15mm (30x) and 6mm (75x) — which have a 66° apparent field of view. Images of everything from the Moon to the Messier objects appear exceptionally sharp and contrasty.

Orion Scenix 7×50 Wide-Angle Binocular – $199


Wonderful for binocular astronomy as well as scenic daytime viewing. BAK-4 porro prisms and multi-coated objective lenses ensure bright, crisp images. Wide 7.1-degree field of view and 14 foot close focus. Sturdy metal (not plastic) housing with large center focusing mechanism. Includes carrying case, lens cap and deluxe wide neck strap.

To purchase, please send an email to, or send a fax to +65-6462-5313, with the item you are interested in and your contact information


Original article and more information can be found at



Clear skies!
Derek & Rong'en

Disclaimer: Efforts have been made to ensure that all information is correct as at the time of publishing of the newsletter; however the author(s) of this newsletter bear no responsibility for the accuracy of the announcements.

© 2009 Astronomy.SG | All Rights Reserved.


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