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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

17 Dec 2014 - Taiwan Trip Day 4: Star Gazing (观星) at Star Villa

Since my secondary school days, astronomy and star gazing has been one of my favourite hobbies.  In fact, I was in the Astronomy Club during my Junior College life.  I was selected as a researcher in the club for the domain knowledge that I had in this subject.

We were very fortunate that the sky tonight was very clear.  Once we were at the roof top, thousands of stars were above us.  The Villa owner started to guide us on identifying several constellations, which of course I already know.  He spoke in Mandarin, and I was able to translate it to English.

Below are a few astronomical objects that we were able to identify easily.  As I do not have a good camera for astro-photography, here are my best pics of the night.  First we were introduced to the constellation of Orion (or the Hunter).  It can be easily identified by searching for three stars that aligned in a straight line. These three stars form the Orion belt.  If we extend the line up, we will see a tiny patch of faint stars.  It is the Pleiades, a star cluster.
Below the Orion belt, there are another three stars that form the Orion sword.  The one in the middle is actually not a star.  It's a star cloud called the Orion Nebula.
If you take a close up look at Pleiades, you can see seven stars very clearly.  Some calls them "The seven sisters" (七姐妹).
Anyway, it was the first time Jerlene and Javier had seen so many stars in the sky.  You will never get to see such a clear sky in Singapore as the entire city is too bright, plus the atmosphere is quite polluted most of the time.  As it was really cold tonight, most people did not stay too long.



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