Published on March 12, 2014
GALAXY FORUM 2014 Amateur Astronomy in Singapore (through the eyes of an amateur, me) 1st Mar 2014 by Albert Lim – VP TASOS
Outline of Talk • Amateur Astronomy in Singapore • ~1970 to 1979 • ~1980 to 1991 • TASOS 1992 onwards • Astronomical Facilities in Singapore • Recent TASOS Amateur Activities • The End
Early Amateur Astronomy in Singapore (1970 – 1979) Prior to 1970, very little amateur astronomy except for The Stars in the Trpoics. It is a Starbook for Scouts published by J.C. Cook who was Professor of Applied Maths at the University of Malaya after the war in Singapore. This star book was possibly based on articles which first came out in Straits Times in 1948. He was Dean of the Faculty of Science from 1954 - 1956 and was 49 when he left the university to join Air Transport Auxiliary in Britain.
Early Amateur Astronomy in Singapore (1970 – 1979) Moon photo taken on 11 Jul 1970 at 7.07pm with 30mm refractor and handheld Rolleiflex SLR on Neopan SSS B&W Film developed with Pandol 8163 on Grade 3 photo paper. 1/30 sec exposure through thin clouds. Jupiter and Europa through same scope.
Early Amateur Astronomy in Singapore (1970 – 1979) 1971 – Built 4 inch refractor from magnifier lenses. Instructions and inspiration came from “The Amateur Astronomer’s Telescope” by Patrick Moore. Told him so in 1989 when he came.
Early Amateur Astronomy in Singapore (1970 – 1979) My first total lunar eclipse of 29 Nov1974 recorded in Singapore. Photos were taken via a Seagull SLR camera with B&W Fuji film handheld to the 3 inch telescope eyepiece which was quite difficult.
Early Amateur Astronomy in Singapore (1970 – 1979) Formation of Singapore Amateur Astronomical Society (SAAS in 1975) Multiple small notes placed in between every Astronomy books in every Library in Singapore calling for an amateur astronomy meeting at the then Nanyang University (now NTU). About 30 people gathered for this amateur astronomical meeting and we eventually form an unofficial group called “Singapore Amateur Astronomical Society” or SAAS. SAAS run for a number of years and even published a newsletter for a while. Star parties and observing sessions were organised and this small group of amateurs gathered throughout 1975 – 1979. Unfortunately, SAAS begin to slowly disperse when I had to go to Officer Cadet School in 1979 for NS. A number of more active members were also drafted into National Service about that time.
Early Amateur Astronomy in Singapore (1970 – 1979) SAAS Star Party in 1976 – Holy Innocent lane off Upper Serangoon
Early Amateur Astronomy in Singapore (1970 – 1979) SAS Star Party in 1976 – Holy Innocent lane off Upper Serangoon At dawn, observed Himalaya of Venus and followed Saturn till noon with 68mm.
Early Amateur Astronomy in Singapore (1970 – 1979) GEM Mount designed and built in 1977.
Early Amateur Astronomy in Singapore (1970 – 1979) On 16th Sep 1978 – Total Eclipse across East in Europe, Parts of Asia, East in Australia, East in Africa, East in North America, East in South America, Indian Ocean. It was a bright eclipse at L = 2.5 on the Danjon Luminosity scale.
Early Amateur Astronomy in Singapore (1970 – 1979) Total lunar eclipse sequence photograph on B&W film on 17 Sep 1978 The maximum for this Total Lunar Eclipse is on 16th Sep 1978 at UT 19:05:01. This translates to our Singapore local time at 3:05:01am on the 17th Sep 1978.
Early Amateur Astronomy in Singapore (1970 – 1979) Total lunar eclipse sequence taken on B&W film on 17 Sep 1978
Early Amateur Astronomy in Singapore (1970 – 1979) 8 inch F8 Primary Mirror ground and polished in 1978 school project. The telescope was completely built from scratch including diagonal, focuser, spider, primary cell, finderscope and holder as well as complete GEM mount.
Early Amateur Astronomy in Singapore (1970 – 1979) Primary mirror was tested using a Couder and a Ronchi screen with a knife edge focault tester of Mackintosh design.
Early Amateur Astronomy in Singapore (1970 – 1979) The completed 8 inch Newtonian with GEM in 1978 as school project
Early Amateur Astronomy in Singapore (1970 – 1979) In 1979, save up enough money over 3 years to buy an 80mm refractor made by GOTO Japan. This is a very nice telescope with excellent optics and a solid GEM. Even though it is an achromatic refractor, it perform very well because it is F15. Takahashi has yet to introduce their Semi- Apochrmat and their Apo revolution only came very much latter.
Amateur Astronomy in Singapore (1980 – 1991) The Goto 80mm refractor opened up a wide range of possibilities in observations and it produced much better results in photography leading into the 80s. Up to this point, only a handful of amateur in the group has telescopes and almost all are very basic instruments.
Amateur Astronomy in Singapore (1980 – 1991) 80s astronomy begins with a partial solar eclipse on 16 Feb 1980
Amateur Astronomy in Singapore (1980 – 1991) Between 1979 to 1981, pace of amateur astronomy slowed down due to National Service. The early small group from SAAS also begin to disperse as people move. From about 1982, onwards, after National Service, another amateur group begin to form meet regularly at the Science Centre rear entrance car park (no longer in existence). This was the beginning of association with Dr. KK Cheong from the Singapore Science Centre and the group this time comprise more working professionals and less students. In the early 80s, the gearing was always towards the highly anticipated arrival of Halley’s Comet in 1986. Although there’s a lot of activity leading up to Halley’s, there was unfortunately very limited photo records.
Amateur Astronomy in Singapore (1980 – 1991) Many talks and observational activities between 1983 and 1984 . Observation at Raffles Junior College Astronomy Talk – Raffles Institution Astronomy Talk – National JC Star Observation – Science Centre
Amateur Astronomy in Singapore (1980 – 1991) Star Party in 1985 at Island Country Club – More amateur are looking for telecopes to purchase but there is no local supplier.
Amateur Astronomy in Singapore (1980 – 1991) The arrival of a famous Comet like Halley’s stirred the public’s curiosity and soon every body wants to know about this once in a lifetime visitor. A lot of questions were asked and so we decided to give talks to educate the public where to look for it and also how they can photograph the Comet.
Amateur Astronomy in Singapore (1980 – 1991) Halley Comet watch event was organised in Mar and April of 1986 at various venues like Jurong Country Club, Kranji, Changi, Marina as well as Singapore Science Centre with 12,000+ people over 2 nights.
Amateur Astronomy in Singapore (1980 – 1991) Halley’s Nucleus – 45 mins exposure Prime Halley’s Comet beside Omega Globular Cluster in mid April 1986 Halley’s in Mar of 1986 The most significant Astro event of the 80s
Amateur Astronomy in Singapore (1980 – 1991) 13 Nov 1986 Mercury Transit Public education event organised by the Singapore Science Centre. Astronomical instruments are scare during this period so few of us amateur who have instruments always provide it for the public.
Amateur Astronomy in Singapore (1980 – 1991) In 1987, the Omni Theatre which is part of the Singapore Science Centre was established after being under construction for about 2 years.
Amateur Astronomy in Singapore (1980 – 1991) Practical Astronomy class 1987 at NUS with Prof . TT Chia and Chong HY. SN1987A.
Amateur Astronomy in Singapore (1980 – 1991) Telescope making class at NUS 1987 6 inch Primary mirror blanks from the Glass tanks of Van Kleef Aquarium.
Amateur Astronomy in Singapore (1980 – 1991) Singapore Science Centre acquire numerous astronomical instruments by about 1988 in order to support growing public interest in astronomy
Amateur Astronomy in Singapore (1980 – 1991) 5.0m Dome with 16 inch Cassegrain Observatory open at SSC in 1989
Amateur Astronomy in Singapore (1980 – 1991) Sir Patrick Moore gave a few talks at Singapore Science Centre during his visit of Dec 1989. Although he passed away 9th Dec 2012, he is remembered by all amateurs who are inspired by him.
Amateur Astronomy in Singapore (1980 – 1991) Original logo from Nov 1941 Cursive logo - Jan 1980 Current logo - Jan 1991
Amateur Astronomy in Singapore - TASOS 1992 onwards In 1991, a group of dozen founding members registered “The Astronomical Society of Singapore” as an official Society. The name “TASOS” and the registration of the Society was officially approved by the Registrar of Societies on Valentine’s Day - 14 Feb 1992. Since then, TASOS have been active in the promotion of astronomy and education in Singapore till this day.
Amateur Astronomy in Singapore - TASOS 1992 The Astronomical Society Of Singapore (TASOS) was formed with the following objectives: The promotion of an interest in astronomy for beginners as well as the advanced. The encouragement of all aspects of observational astronomy and the association of observers at all levels for mutual benefit. The circulation of current astronomical information and observational materials. The support of regional and international cooperation among astronomical organisations.
Amateur Astronomy in Singapore – TASOS 1992 onwards Since its formation, TASOS have contributed to the amateur astronomical scene in Singapore having reach out to tens of thousands through its astronomy promotion activities till today. “Various programmes and activities are organized by the Society for its members. Many more are conducted for members of the public. They include expeditions, talks, courses and sidewalk star-gazing parties. Semakau Island Stargazing Trips are organized regularly for members and interested non-members. More information can be obtained from the official website of The Astronomical Society of Singapore at http://tasos.org.sg.” Above is an extract from Astronomy Education in Singapore article by Dr. KK Cheong updated as of 15 May 2013. Dr. Cheong also publishes a Facebook Page known as “Singapore-Sky” at URL: https://www.facebook.com/SingaporeSky. and a corresponding Blog for amateur astronomers at URL: http://singapore-sky.blogspot.com/.
Amateur Astronomy in Singapore – TASOS 1992 onwards
Amateur Astronomy in Singapore – TASOS 1992 onwards Partial Solar Eclipse 24 Oct 1995 activity at Jurong East Library
TASOS Solar Eclipse Expedition Total Solar Eclipse - October 24th, 1995 Lop Buri Province - Chai Badarn, Thailand,
Amateur Astronomy in Singapore – TASOS 1992 onwards TASOS eclipse public exhibition and talk in 1996. The exhibits were on loan for exhibition display throughout 1996 to Jurong East Library, NTU, Bukit Marah Library, Ngee Ann and Nanyang Poly, NUS and many others.
TASOS Comet Hale Bopp Expedition – Hawaii, Mar 1997
TASOS Comet Hale Bopp Exhibition – Hawaii, Mar 1997 Exhibits for libraries, Schools and public.
Between 1998 and 1999, 3 TASOS Committee members Prof SM Chong, Albert Lim and PS Ang took 10,000+ slides and wrote up a book originally titled “The Realm of the Lunatics”. The publishers Cambridge University Press however sought to change the title and the book was eventually published as “The Photographic Atlas of the Moon” in 2002. In 2003, Cambridge University went on to translate and publish this same book in Spanish with the approval of the authors. A version of ebook is also now online. Amateur Astronomy in Singapore – TASOS 1992 onwards
Amateur Astronomy in Singapore – TASOS 1992 onwards From 2000 onwards till present, there have been a lot more growth in interest in astronomy among the public and schools. According the Dr. Cheong’s article on Astronomy Education in Singapore, there are now some 30 astronomy societies and Clubs in Singapore – a far cry from a few since early 90s. In 2000, other astronomical forums and groups etc also catch on. They join TASOS and the Science Centre to further astronomy education in Singapore. TASOS however, remain the only official registered society in Singapore. Please visit www.tasos.org for more infor.
Amateur Astronomy in Singapore - TASOS 1992 Some members of TASOS include (from left) Dr KK Cheong, May, PS Ang, Thomas Ang, Albert Lim, Albert Ho, Prof SM Chong, Albert Tan, Kapilan and Jeffrey Lim above. Most in this photo are current office bearers in TASOS committee. President: Mr Albert Ho Vice President: Mr Albert Lim Hon. Secretary: Ms Ong Geok May Asst. Hon. Secretary: Ms Teo Poh Kheam Treasurer: Mr Ang Poon Seng 4 Committee Members: Prof Chong Siew Meng Mr Albert Tan Boon Wah Mr Soh Kim Mun Dr. Dave Lommen 2 Auditors: Dr. Cheong Kam Khow Mr Kalaimani s/o Retnasamy 2013 TASOS Management Committee
Astronomical Facilities in Singapore Nisshin 5.5m Dome w Pentax 16 inch Cass at Science Centre - 1989
Astronomical Facilities in Singapore Shibuya Makuhari Japanese Senior School (now known as the Waseda Shibuya Senior High School) built their 15cm refractor 5.0m Dome 1992 Optics and mount repaired and serviced by Astro Scientific in 2004.
Astronomical Facilities in Singapore – by Astro Scientific Nisshin 3.0m Dome w Showa & Takahashi 10 inch Cass at NYP - 1999
Astronomical Facilities in Singapore – by Astro Scientific Nisshin 2.4m ROR w Celestron C14 & Tak NJP at ACS (Indpt) - 2000
Astronomical Facilities in Singapore – by Astro Scientific Nisshin 3.0m Dome w C11 and Questar 7 at Science Centre - 2003
Astronomical Facilities in Singapore – by Astro Scientific Nisshin 3.0m Dome with Showa 25E and 14 inch DK at NUSHS - 2005
Astronomical Facilities in Singapore – by Astro Scientific Pod 3.0m Dome w Celestron C14 at Maris Stellar High School - 2009
Astronomical Facilities in Singapore – by Astro Scientifc Astro Custom 4.5 m ROR w CDK17 on Showa 25E at NUS - 2011
Astronomical Facilities in Singapore – by Astro Scientific Astro 4.0m ROR w Celestron C14 Edge HD on EM500 at NJC - 2011
Astronomical Facilities in Singapore – by Astro Scientific Nisshin 3.0m Dome w Mewlon 300 on Showa 25EL at AGCC - 2012
Astronomical Facilities in Singapore – by Astro Scientific Astro Observatory RC16 on Paramount ME in 4.5m ROR – Albert Lim With David Malin - AAO
Recent TASOS Amateur Activities – Occultation of Pluto TASOS recorded an occultation of Star 13R when occulted by Pluto for approx 130s (0.8 mag drop). Time of occultation is at UT14h 17m 15s (+/-16s) on 27th June 2011. A second occultation of Pluto’s moon Hydra also occurs on the same night 33 mins later at UT14h 50m 23s (+/-16s) for a duration of about 4s. Pluto Vm = 14.0 and Hydra = 23. The Pluto starfield was confirmed with the 16” RC via platesolve and Pluto first captured through a QSI 583 CCD camera. A smaller target field was then recorded of the event using a Flea 3 camera operating at 2x2 bin, 0.5s at 2 fps from UT14h 05m through 15h 10m covering both occultation events. 300 dark frames were taken with the Flea3 and the raw data was Fedex by to NASA as originally requested.
Recent TASOS Amateur Activities – Asteriod 2005YU55 TASOS captured a series of photo sequence of Asteroid 2005YU55 as it races past the Earth on the night of the of 9th Nov 2011 Wednesday from 2100hrs LT to 2330hrs LT. The Asteroid was moving East from the constellation of Pegasus from near the bright star Algenib into the constellation of Pisces. Photo above show 2005YU55 as at 10.30pm local time when it was located at RA 00h 59m 16.27s and Dec +19d 21m 57.1s (J2000). This 12th magnitude asteroid was captured with a Nikon D700 MLU at 15s exposure, ISO1600 using the 16 RC. Sky condition was partially cloudy and the asteriod was blinded In the glow of the bright full Moon nearby. The asteroid was moving at very high velocity thus producing a trail even in this short 15s exposure. It was moving rapidly towards East passing North of the 10.45 magnitude bright star GSC1192:1259.
Recent TASOS Amateur Activities – Lunar Eclipse Webcast Astro Observatory was used to capture and uploaded the Total Lunar Eclipse of 10th Dec 2011 for live feed to the world. Paul Cox from Slooh had requested one week earlier for live images on this event from SINGAPORE. Lunar images were captured on a Nikon D700 via the Takahashi FSQ106ED with TeleVue 4x PM. The entire eclipse was captured from beginning to end entirely and images were uploaded onto slooh’s server. The software utilised was Watch Directory with Image Magick. All files were loaded onto watch directory and then batch process for crop, resize and conversion before finally being uploaded onto slooh server. Overall, the event was a complete success and people around the world got to watch the live feed and hear Bob Berman talk about the eclipse. Live feeds were also simultaneously streamed from Mauna Kea, Dubai and Australia for this event.
Recent TASOS Amateur Activities – Occultation Daphne Paul Maley made a request to time the occultation of Asteriod Daphne which was designated as the highest science priority event for 2013 by professional astronomers. TASOS recorded and timed this event via a GPS time inserter accurate to 0.001 sec with complete success. Target star SAO142838 was occulted by Asteriod Daphne at 2.29am on 31st March 2013 Singapore time. Because the asteroid shadow is located along an east-west orientation, the best placement of observers is NS perpendicular to it. TASOS collaborated with Paul (NASA ) who flew in to Singapore and travel to Nikoi island to time this event at a different point. Observers in JB and NUS Observatory was also co-ordinated to join in but unfortunately all other observers failed except for Paul and TASOS.
Recent TASOS Amateur Activities – Occultation Daphne Brad Timerson first analyse Paul’s and my data which were both good.
Recent TASOS Amateur Activities – Occultation Daphne
Recent TASOS Amateur Activities – Occultation Daphne Data reanalysed by John Talbot (NZ) – it appears the 210km size Asteriod Daphne may have a 2 km dia moon in orbit 443 km away. Also Brad Timerson had also overlooked I use PAL (0.04s BF).
Recent TASOS Amateur Activities – Occultation Daphne
Recent TASOS Amateur Activities – Visit to NARIT 2013 TASOS visited NARIT facility in Chiang Mai on 26th of November 2013
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