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Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Lyrids Star Party 2008 (12-13th April 2008)
The Lyrids (also known as Alpha Lyrids or April Lyrids), is a prominent meteor shower lasting from April 15 to April 28 every year. Lyrids star party, an annual event organised by MPAstro in celebration of the meteor shower, is open to all students interested in finding out about the wonders of cosmos. The first part of Lyrids star party was held in Republic Polytechnic. Our lecturer, Mr Y.K.Chia from Singastro, had taken his time off to give us a talk on his expertise, Near Earth Events – Satellites and Meteors. The talk was highly informational, and many wowed at his superb pictures on planes, satellites, meteors, and even sprites rarely seen in Singapore.
The students then had a change of air when they were led to the field nearby for our exciting game! They all had a good time finding their way out of the maze while being blindfolded, and we station masters enjoyed ourselves taking pictures as well! Our winning team, surprisingly, was a group of very young participants from Temasek secondary school.
After the game, everyone cooled down and had their refreshments while the movie “Contact” was screened. The movie was based on a novel written by Carl Sargan, the late president of the Planetary Society, and an activist in popularising astronomy to the public. With its interesting storyline, we were sure many would be greatly inspired after watching the movie. At around 7pm, everyone was transported to East Coast Park, where we would be having our grand treasure hunt and overnight stargazing session. While the participants settled down and had their dinner at McDonalds, the organisers were ensuring all stations for the treasure hunt were in order.
At 11pm, our highly anticipated hunt began! Everyone was split into groups, and each groups were supposed to find the various stations scattered everywhere in East Coast Park based on the clues given, while having to solve the riddles on the way as well. It was tiring yet so much fun, and as everyone reached the last station, which was the campsite itself, we had a good time marking and commenting on the creative answers for the tricky riddles!
The night went on when everyone broke off into smaller groups to enjoy the beauty of the cosmos through various telescopes from MPAstro, the participating schools’, and the astronomers from Singastro. We sighted a lot of celestial objects, including Jupiter, Saturn, Orion nebula, Ring nebula, Lagoon nebula, Butterfly cluster, Ptolemy’s cluster, Beehive and Little Beehive cluster, Southern Pleiades, Christmas Tree cluster, Stargate cluster, globular clusters M4 M10 M12 M22 and Omega Centauri, among others. All in all, despite the momentarily cloudy skies, everyone from the amateurs to the veterans enjoyed East Coast’s southern sky to the fullest.
As the sun rose the next morning, we went back home, feeling fulfilled with all the astronomical objects we had seen, gave ourselves a good sleep, and prepared for our next overnight astro quest!
posted at 9:43 PM
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