Toa Payoh Sidewalk Astronomy tonight outside Courts - 18 Jun

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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stargazer
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Post by stargazer »

@cloud cover: Thanks for your advice.

I was actually at this obs with my 2 kids. Had a good chat with Gary, James and Clifford before I left. Good crowd! [smilie=ahaaah.gif]

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cataclysm
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Post by cataclysm »

Wow! What a turn out! Nice work Gary, and the rest who had contributed! [smilie=cheer.gif]

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Gary
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Re: Sidewalk Astro @ Toa Payoh tonight - 4/1/2012

Post by Gary »

Weather permitting, I will be conducting a sidewalk astronomy session at Toa Payoh Central tonight.

Date: Wednesday, 4th January 2012
Time: From 7:45 PM onwards
Venue: Open space in front of Toa Payoh Public Library
Equipment: Meade 8 inch Schmidt Cassegrain Telescope

Primary focus: Moon, Venus, Jupiter.
Secondary focus: Orion Nebula, Seven Sister star cluster, Sirius, M41, M35.

Follow this thread or my twitter for the latest updates --> http://www.twitter.com/astrosg
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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Airconvent
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Re: Sidewalk Astro @ Toa Payoh tonight - 4/1/2012

Post by Airconvent »

argg...too late. I am already home. Wanted to pop by Toa Payoh for dinner just now but decided not to. Enjoy guys! The sky looks clear tonight.
The Boldly Go Where No Meade Has Gone Before
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Bergkamp_
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Re: Sidewalk Astro @ Toa Payoh tonight - 4/1/2012

Post by Bergkamp_ »

=) how i wish gary stays in cck =P
Wee Ern aRmeD wiF Takahashi FS60CB reAdY tO taKe ovEr thE skY .. wIF jUst mY naKed eYEs .

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Gary
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Re: Sidewalk Astro @ Toa Payoh tonight - 4/1/2012

Post by Gary »

Last night seeing was fantastic before midnight. Finally saw details inside Jupiter GRS with the same scope which I thought was not possible which such a scope in Singapore. Had a great time interacting with the crowd. Always learn something new with every sidewalk. The lesson for last night is not to show people Jupiter first then the Moon especially when they are close to each other. Else, you may end up explaining again and again for 10 mins to the same person what she saw was Jupiter and not Moon. LOL.

According to latest news, 2012 is going to be hottest year ever. Time to dust off the solar scopes. More clear skies to come?

@airconvent - No worries. There is always next time. Btw, do drop by the newly revamped Toa Payoh Lorong 8 hawker centre for some nice and cheap makan - $2 fishball noodle (6 decent size fishballs), the Serangoon Hokkien Noodle, $2.50 Lor Mee and melt-in-your-mouth cold soya bean curd with many flavours. :)

@berkamp - How I wish all singastro members stay in Toa Payoh! Then every weekend we can have a buy and sell night market near the library! LOLOL. But then again, Toa Payoh may flood like crazy. :P But on a serious note, I suspect there are may be many very low profile amateur astronomers all over Singapore, including CCK. We just need someone staying around CCK to get the ball rolling to "lure" them out in the open. hint hint. :) If you think about it, 1 hr per month for sidewalk at a nearby location from our house is not really that difficult. We most probably spend more time watching TV ads in the same month. Moreover, at the end of the year, you will feel less guilty of using your scope less than 12 times in the year.
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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Gary
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Re: Sidewalk Astro @ Toa Payoh tonight - 13/1/2012

Post by Gary »

It's Friday the 13th! sidewalk tonight from 8.45 pm at open space outside toa payoh library. Come join me and uncle Clifford for some scary sidewalk stories. And check out my latest toy from Russia with love. :)

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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Airconvent
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Re: Sidewalk Astro @ Toa Payoh tonight - 13/1/2012

Post by Airconvent »

Looks like I missed this again...Maybe should subscribe to the CSN (Clear Sky Network) for Toa Payoh...! :)
Do post the report and pictures. The sky looks blurry though.
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Gary
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Re: Sidewalk Astro @ Toa Payoh tonight - 13/1/2012

Post by Gary »

Hi Richard. This is a quick report. Sky condition wise, the clouds were playing hide and seek with the celestial objects. Thanks to the push to setup we are able react very quickly to brief periods of small pockets of clear sky to show the public Jupiter, Sirius, Moon, Mars, M41, Orion Nebula, Hyades star cluster.

Special thanks and shout out to the 2 SP astro members who drop by and help me out. It is always great fun to chat with fellow astro enthusiast. Hope they enjoy conducting the brief sidewalk session on their own while I take a toilet break. :)

Thanks to Clifford dropping and help out. Always great to catch up with him and gaining some wisdom from his real life stories and he handled them. Nothing beats face to face interactions with friends, no offense to compulsive facebookers. :P

Last night was also the first light for the recently acquired Intes Micro MN 56. During a brief moment of good seeing (when Clifford just arrived), Jupiter looked great and reminded me how it looked like my 8" SCTs, but at 3 full inch smaller aperture. Or maybe I am just trying to psycho myself after reading favourable reviews of this scope. :) Base on this planetary view alone, I just conveniently assumed the collimation should be quite good already. I was so pleasantly surprised later in the evening while performing some star tests that the collimation is actually off! So I am quite excited and looking foward to enjoy the learning process how to collimate this baby. Even at this level of off-collimation, the stars only starts to coma near the last 10% of the view using a non-premium 24mm 68 afov eyepiece.

As usual, the adorable kids who came to take a look through the scope really made my day. So full of energy, passion and asking many questions. They are just so hyped to take a look while waiting for their turn. Told them them to take a step back away from the scope so that I have some room to maneuver and aim through the finder. The moment I look away from them and at the finder, they will take 2 steps forward! LOL :) Kids will say the most interesting thing. There is this kid after looking at Sirius through the scope and shouted with a big smile across his face "It is so shiny!!!". Showed the public how cupping your hands around the EP will allow you see more stars around Sirius instead of Sirius alone. Hopefully this will let them realise at practical and deeper level what light pollution can do to spoil the observing experience and un-brainwash a generation of people growing up in urban cities that the stars don't shine there.

Brought the loaned copy of Astronomy's Spectacular Universe along and showed the public how the planets looked like, especially during cloudy breaks. Regardless of age, whenever I showed them Saturn, all of them will say the same thing -- "You mean we can really see the ring?". Some amateur astronomers conveniently assume the majority of the general public is very discerning and does not feel to inspired to do sidewalks for fear of the view through their scopes are not good enough. Nobody asked about the bands and various divisions in Saturn in the photo in the magazine. Sun is even better, nobody asked about the sunspots, prominence, different "colors" of the sun in the mag. They were just amazed by the *idea* that the Sun can even be seen through a telescope!

Observing wise, the highlight for me was looking at Mars around 2 am when it eastern sky cleared up for a while. The focal length of the scope is 762 mm. Tried using a cheapo 6.4mm plossl and a 2x barlow on it which gives about 238x magnification. Was expecting a featureless fuzzy red disc. Imagine my surprise when I realise that I can actually focus on Mars in the first place. Icing on the cake was seeing the blue, dark reddish brown color patches and the whiter-than-white ice cap! A heart-in-the-mouth moment for me! Brings back lots of wonderful memories of attending the Mars Watch 2003 at bedok reservoir! The single speed JMI focuser was not very smooth but I was damn lucky to trial and error to reach good focus on Mars. Anyone selling a moonlite focuser cheap? LOL. Again, the slo mo feature of the az mount came to rescue from the super tight tfov through the plossl. Was able to manually keep Mars in the fov and enjoy the view. Can't wait to duplicate the reported experience of a MN56 users apparently pushing 400x using a sub-5mm EPs or 5x barlow! Note to self: Must resist blowing all my ang pow money shortly after CNY. :P

For wideviews, it was great to see whole Orion's "sword" in the fov. Reminds me of the views in guangwei's WO 80mm and my F5 80mm refractor. M41 was so easy to find using "finder" eyepieces like my 32mm and 24mm. For my preferences, there is no need for a 9x50 finder scope as long as I am using this scope under Singapore skies.

A truly lucky Friday the 13th to remember. Two more to come this year with each separated by 13 weeks!

Ok. Time to stop blabbing and do some CNY spring cleaning. And digging up more gear to sell. :) Sorry for the Walls of Text. :)
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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Gary
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Re: Sidewalk Astro @ Toa Payoh tonight - 13/1/2012

Post by Gary »

Sidewalk astronomy tonight at open space outside toa payoh library. From 8.45pm.
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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