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Friday, September 5, 2008
GET-TOGETHER STAR PARTY – SENTOSA 29-30 AUGUST 2008 Report From Anne!
Whenever one thinks of southern sky in Singapore, the first thing that comes to mind would be the oh-so-familiar East Coast Park. Yes, it is accessible, and countless star parties have been done there, but this time, we opted for Palawan beach, Sentosa for a refreshing south western sky. Despite the pain of lugging all the equipments to the ob site (surely, it wasn’t ECP after all), we arrived there safe and sound at 7pm, in time to set up all the equipments and tents and pick up whoever that came their on their own and couldn’t find the way. Unique an ob site indeed, because there were these two tall towers by the beach, and a wooden platform in between. Saved us the hassle of setting up tents on the sand, and were it to rain we would have been considerably drier. Not that any of us wished for that to happen. That the sky wasn’t clear at all when we finished setting up stuff wasn’t quite pleasant, and people started going off to random places, cluttering in groups playing cards and boardgames and random chattings. The totally covered from horizon to zenith sky miraculously cleared up at around 10pm, revealing the most sought after patch of sky – the celestial beacons in Scorpius and Sagittarius. Scope after scope made quick visits to the familiar yet no less stunning Lagoon nebula, Butterfly cluster M6, Ptolemy’s cluster M7, Baby Scorpius NGC 6231, M16 or M17, and so on. Globular fanatics were equally ecstatic with Ophiuchus’ M10 and M12, or Scorpius’ M4, Sagittarius’ M22, M28 and M54, or elusive ones like NGC 6541 and 6441. After the hype with Sagittarius, southern sky didn’t have much to offer though, as all the constellations harbor mostly galaxies. Interestingly, we managed to catch the second brightest globular cluster on the sky, 47 Tucanae (aka NGC 104) and another VERY tiny one nearby, NGC 362, both in the Small Magellanic Cloud. It’s worth noting their close distance to the horizon, and them being globulars certainly made the observation more worthwhile. Getting to the overhead bridge connecting the two towers’ 3rd stories, we turned our lenses and mirrors towards Andromeda galaxies M31, the brightest galaxy in the Northern hemisphere. Double cluster and M76 in Perseus also came to mind, but it deemed impossible with the passing clouds and light pollution towards the North. Same ol’ Pleiades was also revisited, posing as lovely as usual! A quick spin at the end of the night before the sun rose revealed some not so frequently visited objects in the Milky Way region around Argo Navis. Just wander around the Milky Way band and the sky always had something stunning to offer! We chanced upon lovely open clusters: Carina’s NGC 2516, Puppis’ NGC 2451, and Vela’s IC 2391, among many others. The night was rewarding indeed, with countless celestial objects and more lessons learnt. As monsoon season is coming, we hope that our next overnight ob will be as pleasant as this (:
posted at 4:02 AM
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