Summary of the Astronomy Day in Melaka

Last weekend, I went to the Astronomy Day Celebration in Melaka at Al-Khawarizmi Observatory Astronomy Complex.

I had been to the observatory few years back; from my memory it is a small building with an observatory on top housing a 16″ RC telescope by the seaside.

Old observatory Al-KhawarizmiSo when I drove down to Melaka on Friday night, that was what I’m expecting to see.

Not familiar with the Melaka road, I got lost on the way to the observatory. The map I posted earlier was oversimplified. Luckily there was a roadsign writing “Kompleks Falak Al-Khawarizmi”. I wondered why it was “kompleks falak” (astronomy complex) instead of “balai cerap” (observatory) as what it used to be…

When I finally reached the place, then I know why. I thought I went to the wrong place! The place is no longer just an observatory; there are so many new buildings: auditorium, planetarium, exhibition halls, hostels, cafeteria and another NEW observatory housing a 24″ RC telescope (piggyback 6″ Takahashi)! It’s even bigger than the one in Langkawi (20″ RC) who once hold the record in Malaysia! wow!

Kompleks Al-Khawarizmi

The activities went as planned. A lot of school buses with a lot of students flooded the place. I missed the opportunity to see our angkasawan Dr. Faiz in person (so no picture here :-( because I had to attend a meeting in Melaka town with USM people, to discuss another big astronomy event in Melaka at Dataran Pahlawan, tentatively from 8-10 August 2008. Stay tuned!

Saturday weather was clear. It seems such a long time I didn’t see a blue blue sky… During the stargazing session, we can see the Moon, Mars, Saturn, and a handful of constellations. The public attending the star-party were amazed by the craters of the Moon and the rings of Saturn.

Mars & Moon before Occultation. Click to enlargeMars and Moon before Occultation at 9:17 pm. Credit: thChieh (APGM)

Actually there was an occultation of Mars by the Moon at 11pm last Saturday. I manage to get a shot of the duo together with Castor and Pollux before the occultation. About 10pm the clouds rolled in but on and off we still manage to see them through telescope. I still saw them minutes before the occultation, but I missed the moment when Mars went behind Moon, arrrrggggh…

Overall, it was an enjoyable weekend. I met some people and make new friends. It’s just fun to be surrounded by people who share the same interest.

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~ by thChieh on May 13, 2008.

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