The National University of Singapore (NUS) organized an event for the Venus transit, hosting activties that began on the evening of June 5 until the end of the transit on June 6. Because I live closeby, getting to NUS was convenient. On the 5th, my parents and I first went to see a small exhibition that showcased the photography of a local amateur astronomer. Later that night, NUS held the Venus Transit Symphony, composed by Dr. Robert Casteels, at what I would describe as a big city version of the HUB lawn at Penn State's University Park campus.
Musicians were set up in at least four different areas surrounding the lawn on which the audience sat to achieve an echo effect. The music had no distinct melody and was at times chaotic but captivating. During the performance, a slide show played, explaining what the transit of Venus was and the significance. It also included sounds translated from radio waves emitted from Jupiter, Saturn, and the sun. We even heard sounds of pulsars. I think haunting and eerie best describe them.
After the music event, we headed to a field to attempt stargazing. (As you'll see in my pictures later on, the surroundings were still rather bright, but I would say it's pretty dark for Singapore.) The full moon was out, and we also got to see Mars through the telescopes. I counted about eight stars that I could see.
So, the sky was clear with just a couple wisps of clouds visible, and I went to bed. When I woke up on the 6th at 5:45AM (I decided to get to the field early, even though the sun won't rise until around 7AM), the sky was overcast. It had rained during the night. Maybe I shouldn't have mentioned the tale of Le Gentil previously.
For the next couple of hours, I watched online streamings of the transit and took a bunch of snapshots. I ended up forgetting that there was a talk on the transit in the morning. The sky ended up staying cloudy.
At 11AM, we were getting ready to go to lunch. That is when the sun came out! We immediately headed to the field, where an impressive crowd was already viewing through telescopes and looking up with solar viewers.
Above is the trail of Venus as seen in Singapore. When we got to the field, we had about an hour left to see of the transit. With the solar viewer, Venus was visible, but it looked tiny. I attempted to photograph the sun by covering my camera lens with the solar viewer, and it was a struggle, but I succeeded!
Here are some pictures that I took during "Venus Transit @ NUS":
Exhibition; photos were taken in places such as Malaysia and Australia
While leaving the exhibition, we saw that people were already setting their telescopes up at the field.
University Town (UTown), where the musical performance was at
At the music performance
Someone also read a short story during the event (hence the "poetic"?)
One of the many telescopes set up at the field
Arriving to see the transit!
A projected image of the transit
Close-up of the projection
My (cropped) photo of the transit; the small dot is Venus! It's not the best quality but I'm very happy I got a picture.
The transit as seen through a telescope; the bottom right dot is Venus
Leaving the field
Hopefully you caught some of the transit. If not, visit this link for short movies of the transit! Try "Large Field Movie," which shows the entire transit. In two weeks, I'll be heading back to State College to start summer research. Over the past month, I've managed to add only a few planets, but it was good to set up my computer so that I could do it from anywhere. (I have to say I'm much more productive when working in the Davey computer lab.) So, I'll probably see you near the end of June!