Light Pollution

Light pollution is one of the greatest annoyances to astronomers in Singapore. Unfortunately, this problem is not merely restricted to this nation but rather, it is becoming an increasingly worrisome predicament worldwide.
Now, light pollution does not merely blot out most of the spectacular night sky. Studies have shown that light pollution is a danger to the ecosystem as well, affecting the mating and feeding habits of various animals, among other ill effects. In fact, humans are not spared either; the human body’s response to light had been disturbed, and the effects are not pleasant.
Surprisingly, the way to fight light pollution is comparatively easy with respect to the other forms of pollutions that we face. There is still hope for us to reclaim the grandeur of the night sky, and for the field of astronomy in general!
Find out more about light pollution and the problems associated with it at http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2008/11/light-pollution/klinkenborg-text

Hubble Ready to Resume Operations

If everything goes well, the Hubble Space Telescope will recover from the crippling problem the failure of the A side Science Instrument Control and Data Handling (SIC&DH). The Independent Review Team had studied the whole scenario and identified the source of the anomalies that stood in the way of the previous attempts to salvage Hubble’s operations.
On Thursday, October 23, Hubble’s SIC&Dh was reactivated. Having done that, the operations of the Wide Field Planetary Camera-2 should resume on Saturday, October 25, followed by Advanced Camera for Surveys Solar Blind Channel a week later.
For a deeper insight into the technical details, please go to http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/hubble/servicing/SM4/news/status_rpt_6_20081023.html

Space Tourist Back from Space

After spending a whooping US$30 million for a 10 day trip to space, space tourist Richard Garriott is finally back on Earth. The Soyuz spacecraft carrying the American game designer and two cosmonauts safely touched down in Kazakhstan at 9:37a.m. local time on 24th October, with the cosmonauts being Sergei Volkov and Oleg Kononenko.
Richard Garriott is the son of retired American astronaut Owen Garriott. While Garriott was the first American to follow his father to space, he was beaten to the honour of being the first human to follow a parent to space by Sergei Volkov, the son of a cosmonaut. Volkov had gotten to the International Space Station 6 months earlier.
All three of them were reported to be in good conditions, and Owen Garriott was there to greet his son after the successful landing.

Anomalies Stand in Way of Efforts to Save Hubble’s Operations

Hubble Space Telescope (HST) is down again, thanks to anomalies that occur during efforts to salvage its operation.
On October 14, the side B of Hubble’s Science Instrument Control and Data Handling (SIC&DH) had been fired up after side A’s SIC&DH failed. For a moment, hope was strong that HST will be back to its normal operating mode, as the functions of Wide Field Planetary Camera 2, Near Infrared Camera and Multi Object Spectrometer were successfully restored.
Unfortunately, during the final stages of the bringing back the operating mode of the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS), an anomaly occurred. Hours later, HST’s computer lose the ‘keep alive’ signal from the SIC&DH and responded appropriately by having all the instruments reverted to safe mode.
Until the anomalies are resolved, HST will remain silent, performing the only function that remained undisturbed throughout all the problems: astrometry observations…

New Eye on the Outer Solar System Launched Successfully

A new spacecraft had been launched on Sunday, 19th October 2008 to study the boundaries of the Solar System, where the solar wind comes into contact with the interstellar space. Named Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX), this craft will be the first to study the interactions taking place in the outer solar system.
So far, only limited information about this region had been obtained, that is, when the two Voyager probes passed through this region, with Voyager 1 passing the inner boundary in year 2004, followed by Voyager 2 in the year 2007. IBEX, following the two Voyager probes, will spend 45 days in orbit around Earth before finally heading off to perform what it had been perform to do: to map the boundaries of our very own solar system.
Should you be interested in the technical details of IBEX, do drop by the official page for IBEX at http://www.ibex.swri.edu/index.shtml for a look.

4th Society Meeting

 
Dear All,
Hope that our society meetings are acting as catalysts to further increase your interest in astronomy.
To provide you with more details about the world of astronomy we will be arranging our 4th Society Meeting in the coming Friday.
Highlights:
* Discussion about the telescopes.
* Stargazing (Depending on weather)
* Date: 24th October 2008, Friday
* Time: 6:45 pm
* Venue: S16-04-30
Please do bring your friends who are interested for registration because for this semester this will be the last society meeting.
Regards
Maruf Amin Bhuiyan
NUSAS

The Efforts to Save Hubble Space Telescope

After about two weeks of intense worrying, astronomers can finally heave a small sigh of relief, as the reparation efforts for Hubble Space Telescope had been successful. As one might know by now, the HST had been down after the Control Unit/Science Data Formatter (CU/SDF) on side A Science Instrument Control and Data Handling (SIC&DH) failed.
However, engineers had managed to salvage the operations of Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS), Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2), and the Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer (NICMOS) after the side B of Hubble’s SIC&DH was turned on.
Let us all hope that HST will return to its normal functions and stay problem free for many years to come!
For a more comprehensive coverage of the news, please visit http://www.universetoday.com/2008/10/16/looking-good-so-far-for-hubble/

Sixth Space Tourist, Richard Garriott Lands at ISS

Contributed by: Swati Jain.
The Soyuz TMA – 13 spacecraft carrying the sixth space tourist Richard Garriott along with a new crew for the International Space System (ISS) docked with the orbiting outpost on 14th October 2008 at 0826 GMT above Kazakhstan.
Richard Garriott, a 47-year-old computer games designer, as well as a board member and investor in Space Adventures, paid about US$30 million for the 10-day trip. On 12th October 2008, he became the first offspring of an American astronaut to go into space. His father, Owen Garriott had spent 60 days on the Skylab station in 1973. Mr. Garriott will return to Earth on 23rd October 2008 with Expedition 17-Volkov.

NUSAS Mid Autumn Festival Celebration

While the Mid Autumn Festival may be long over by now, the memories remain. Finally, some of the pictures taken during NUSAS Mid Autumn Festival Celebration is ready for viewing, after a rather tough selection process! We apologize it has taken this long; somehow this had escaped our attention. Now, it’s time to let the pictures do the talking!
 
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Waiting for the fun and games to begin… and the long wait was over!
 
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Preparing for the lantern walk (yes, lanterns can be quite difficult to handle, despite its deceptively simple construction), but the walk was enjoyable, as evident in the pleased looks on everyone’s face.
 
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Finally, the end point of the walk… The long awaited observations session finally came! Thank you to those who came for making it such a memorable night! Special thanks to the Logistics subcommittee for the job well done! 😀
Let’s hope that all of NUSAS events will be just as enjoyable, if not more!

Third Society Meeting

 
Dear All,
Hope that you are doing well in your mid terms. We will be arranging our third society meeting on the coming friday.
Details of Meeting:
Time and Date: 10th October, 7pm
Place: S16-04-30
Highlights:
*Discussion about our solar system
*Stargazing (depending upon weather)
Please do tell your friends who are interested to join us. The newly applied members can register during the meeting.
Hope to see you there!!!
Regards
Maruf Amin
NUS Astronomical Society