Free Public Talk - Spectacular Saturn - 4 May (TPY Library)

Alright, this is for sharing of your observation experience. Or, if you are arranging gatherings, star-gazing expeditions or just want some company to go observing together, you can shout it out here.
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Gary
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Free Public Talk - Spectacular Saturn - 4 May (TPY Library)

Post by Gary »

The next public stargazing talk is titled "Spectacular Saturn".

Date: Saturday, 3 May 2014
Time: 7:30pm - 8:30pm
Venue: Toa Payoh Public Library. Level 1 Programme Zone.

Admission is free. No pre-registration required. Late-comers welcomed!

Discover the fascinating facts about the Lord of the Rings and learn how to observe it with your own eyes right here in Singapore!

Weather permitting, live stargazing during/after the talk at the open grounds outside the library. Come see Moon, Jupiter, Mars, Saturn, star clusters and nebula (star cloud) through telescopes! Feel free to join in the fun with your family and friends.
http://www.astro.sg
email: gary[at]astro.sg
twitter: @astrosg


"The importance of a telescope is not how big it is, how well made it is.
It is how many people, less fortunate than you, got to look through it."
-- John Dobson.

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chianboon
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Re: Free Public Talk - Spectacular Saturn - 4 May (TPY Libra

Post by chianboon »

Hi Gary, my pleasure meeting you at TPY Library. It is nice seeing so many people are curious to know more about the heavenly bodies above, and the enthusiasm of you and your friends in sharing are simply awesome.

The view of Mars is really nice and Saturn is just stunning with the it's rings and moon.

After the night, I'm even more interested in getting a telescope (2nd hand), got to read more to understand the pros and cons of different design, and a few more public session to really get a better feel.

Thanks.

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bornfree
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Re: Free Public Talk - Spectacular Saturn - 4 May (TPY Libra

Post by bornfree »

wow, you are lucky picking this time to get a scope. if u have a gauge of what you want, the buy n sell section is recently flooded with alot of scopes and all types. most of us, i feel, wont mind setting up and letting u have a look thru it before selling.
Born to be Free

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chianboon
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Re: Free Public Talk - Spectacular Saturn - 4 May (TPY Libra

Post by chianboon »

bornfree wrote:wow, you are lucky picking this time to get a scope. if u have a gauge of what you want, the buy n sell section is recently flooded with alot of scopes and all types. most of us, i feel, wont mind setting up and letting u have a look thru it before selling.
Just hoping I can decide on the type and size before they were all sold :)

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Gary
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Re: Free Public Talk - Spectacular Saturn - 4 May (TPY Libra

Post by Gary »

Big thanks to Toa Payoh Public Library and all who came for event! Again, the sky looked horrendous before the start of the talk but magically cleared up when James arrived with his classic Celestron Ultima C8 telescope. :) Never get tired admiring the its retro GOTO controller.

Very honoured and happy to see Mr Au gracing the event and helping out with the live stargazing session. Both the public and telescope volunteers benefited much from his wisdom and humour!

Image
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Credit: Dave Ng

Had good interaction with the full house crowd in the library. Thanks to Ava for designing and printing the beautiful astro-theme bookmarks which helped in spicing up the talk. One of the advantage of conducting talks in a library is that there is already a culture of keeping the volume down and not talking on phones. Thus, the audience can concentrate on the talk itself and as a speaker, one gets less distracted and able to execute smoothly the flow the content as prepared. Quite a rewarding sight to see the young and old listening attentively to the talk for a full hour. Makes all the hours of preparation worthwhile.

After delivering the talk, nothing recharges me more than the sight of this when I stepped out the library.

Image

Natural high without the need for RedBull/Monster! :)

Thanks James for deploying the Ultima C8. What a joy and coincidence another Ultima C8 expert/owner (Mr Au) was also present! Once again, as per previous observations at SAFRA Jurong and Tampines ECO park, amazed by its tracking accuracy, speed and ease of alignment from an apparent "old" technology.

Thanks Ivan and Thomas for deploying their dobs. The portability of Ivan's 8" dob makes it possible to relocate it easily to another nearby spot to view Saturn before it was visible to the other 2 telescopes. This is important as the weather is unpredictable. Can't assume it remain clear when Saturn rises higher or the public willing to wait any longer. Fortunately, the sky remained clear and later in the evening, Thomas' 12" dob was attracting the bigger WOWS and OMGs. Kudos his DIYs over the weeks, it was way much smoother and well-balanced than our previous experience at East Coast Park. The right-angled finder proved useful when manual tracking Mars near zenith.

Needless to say, I park myself near the 12" dob longer than the other 2 telescopes. :) Awesome views of Mars and Saturn especially with Burgess/TMB 4mm eyepiece at 381x magnification. If not for the lack of tracking and presence of public queue, could have tried pushing it higher. The 2-speed focuser is smooth enough. A great joy to turn the black knob slowly and see the Cassini Division getting sharper and darker ever so slightly. If the bulk and weight doesn't matter too much, quite amazing such views can be had for under SGD$2000 (including shipping and costs of local DIYs). Seeing 5 moons so close to the contrasty high-definition Saturn is the visual reminder that opposition is fast approaching! Brought back wonderful memory of staring through a big dob for the first time - Rlow's premium 11" at Saturn at Woodlands CC a few years ago. That image "haunted" me for a long time. And I am so glad we can now do our "haunting" at central Singapore. Halloween sidewalk astronomy anyone? :P

A pity the 14" dob didn't make it but there's always a first Saturday for each upcoming month. :)

Many requests for handphone-astrophotography as usual. Get to shoot Saturn with a Samsung Galaxy Note 3. Can't figured how to change the ISO initially as it was grey out. Saturn shots were badly over-exposed. Fortunately, another Note 3 came along and I managed to get good shots with it. The first note 3 owner was standing nearby when I shot it and he must have felt a little frustrated and anxious. So close yet so far away! So I was determined to figure it out and am glad I did (ISO settings can't be changed when auto-stabilising feature is on!). One more happy Note 3 owner with a photo of Saturn to share with his family and friends.

Thanks Dave for the amazing event photography. They have already been proven to be magazine worthy. Will definitely love to see more his photos being enjoyed by a wider local audience. Thanks Hong Lian for supporting the event despite being under the weather for days. Thanks Clifford for sharing his premium TSP. :P Thanks to George & Nick for the support. Thanks to Kevin for deploying his Vixen. Great job judging from happy faces!

Also a quick shoutout to my twitter followers and the SOTA students who attended the event. All the best for your School of The Arts astronomy-inspired project! Apologies if I missed anyone out.

******************************************************

@chianboon - Nice meeting you and glad you enjoyed yourself! :) Don't rush into making a telescope purchase too early. Take your time to do research and enjoy your fruits of research for years to come when you finally buy your first telescope. What you saw last night is only a few dobsonians and SCTs. Do try to explore other designs at various public stargazing sessions (e.g. smaller, more portable refractors, newtonians, SCTs, Maksutov Cassegrains and maybe even Maksutov-Newtonians).

Having said that, if you have done your research and still conclude that you still want a medium/big dob (especially if you have private transport and/or good views at home), there is nothing wrong with that decision too. If dobs were more affordable and readily available locally years ago, it should/could have been my first telescope (instead of a MCT 127mm). But then again, I do not have much regret in my purchasing/re-selling journey as the experiential knowledge gained is very rewarding and makes me appreciate my current dobsonian and other telescopes even more.

Lastly, as what you have experienced firsthand last night, doing sidewalk astronomy with a group of like-minded friends can be a great "addictive" but wholesome thrill. Hope you will join such a group someday or better still, start one yourself around your neighbourhood.

Image
Credit: George
Last edited by Gary on Sun May 04, 2014 9:52 pm, edited 10 times in total.
http://www.astro.sg
email: gary[at]astro.sg
twitter: @astrosg


"The importance of a telescope is not how big it is, how well made it is.
It is how many people, less fortunate than you, got to look through it."
-- John Dobson.

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ivan
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Re: Free Public Talk - Spectacular Saturn - 4 May (TPY Libra

Post by ivan »

Thanks Gary for the long report! This was also just my second time sidewalking, and the first with this size of a crowd (the first was at BSP on a relatively quiet weekend). My newly acquired 8" dob was a joy to use, and compared to lugging my EQ mount around, the portability factor was a big plus. I wasn't able to push the magnification very high because I have a small misalignment of the finder right from the start (and thus couldn't do manual tracking precisely with the finder), and I never quite solved the problem till later on due to the never ending queue. Still, the views of Mars and Saturn (especially) were decent enough to wow the crowds (a preview of the 12" perhaps? :D). Although I have been to many sidewalks, I must say that it is a really different experience bringing my own scope.

Also, it was nice meeting some astronomers for the first time: Mr Au, Cloud Cover and Chianboon. A very enjoyable experience indeed! I was so hyped up that I went for a milky way photography session at Kranji till 5am :D
Just a casual stargazer

ggodetucsamoht
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Re: Free Public Talk - Spectacular Saturn - 4 May (TPY Libra

Post by ggodetucsamoht »

Thks gary for the long report. Mine station always having long queue until i dont know when am i able to switch object. Just not sure if those at the back want to take a look at mars or prefer saturn until an uncle tell me to point it to saturn...
.funny is one lady ask me what else to see for the night beside saturn and mar so my immediate reply was, " oh, there is venus coming up around 4-5am, if you want can stay and check it out".

Anyway for my 12" the view really stunning, not only able to bring out the saturn ring details, clouds band but also able to split the 2 different colour tone of the main globe and its ring.

Ivan i am glad you apreciate my diy skills on the dob base. There will not have any dobsonian reflector sold to you at lifetime workmanship warranty.

Thomas

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Airconvent
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Re: Free Public Talk - Spectacular Saturn - 4 May (TPY Libra

Post by Airconvent »

Great Outing Gary + Team ! Looks like a very good event when even Mr Au himself was there!
Sorry I could not make it. Have not been feeling well the whole week, so taking the chance to rest over the weekend.
But why worry, right? We expect more sessions from our resident Celebrity Astronomer Gary and he merry bunch of "Roving" Hood...i.e. roving around Singapore looking for dark places ! :)
The Boldly Go Where No Meade Has Gone Before
Captain, RSS Enterprise NCC1701R
United Federation of the Planets

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