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A Year in Review

December 7th, 2009

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!

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Categories: Announcements, Newsletter, Reports

5th Asian-Pacific Astronomy Olympiad [Report]

November 1st, 2009

From 7 Oct to 14 Oct 2009, three students from two schools participated in the 5th Asian-Pacific Astronomy Olympiad in Damyang, Korea.

A whirlwind of events ensued. There were official excursions to the Sun-cheon Bay Area famous for its wildlife, the Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute, a traditional Korean fortress, a bamboo park (Damyang is famous for bamboo), and many more. On their own, the participants organised games ranging from "Mafia" to "Capture the flag" to a hybrid of sepak takraw and volleyball, and even a "Disco Night" on the last night of the Olympiad. Okay - that was the fun part.

The stressful part was obviously the competition. The problems set were of a rather high standard and of quite a different style as what we are used to seeing in Singapore. On top of that, the competition was quite intense. Indonesia, China, Thailand and Korea are known powerhouses; moreover, Korea was the host country. Nevertheless, the Singapore team managed to focus and gave their best throughout the competition.

All received the III-rd Diploma, equivalent to a Bronze Medal. Congratulations to Stacey-Ann Lee, Silas Yeem and Tay Woon Kiat! No less valuable were the contributions of Seow Yongli as jury member; and Joel Lee as observer and chaperone.

The Olympiad was not just a test of astronomy knowledge, but also an event where learning of different cultures and countries in addition to learning more about astronomy takes place. Yet more important that that, I feel, is that friendships were forged, and the totality of the Olympiad has inspired the participants to work harder for the betterment of the astronomy community.

Note: For those who are interested in participating in future regional or international olympiads, whether as a student, team leader or observer, do feel free to email me at Those who would like to contribute in other ways such as coaching are also welcome.

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Categories: Camps & Trips, Competitions, Reports