General News

Hwa Chong Students Spark Greater Interest in Astronomy

08 Jan 2020
General

Ring of Fire

“Opportunities are like sunrises. If you wait too long, you miss them.” This was posited by William Arthur Ward, a writer of inspirational maxims. Sadly, if you had missed out the rare annular solar eclipse that happened on the 26th of December 2019, the next one would only occur in the year 2063.

This ‘ring of fire’ dubbed ‘the greatest astronomical phenomenon’ of the past two decades, happens when the moon blocks out most of the light from reaching Earth during its alignment with the sun in a single plane. 

Just like many Singaporeans who seized the opportunity to capture this rare solar with their solar glasses and smartphones, HCI’s Astronomy Club (HCAstro) did likewise by guiding interested participants on handling telescopes to view and take stunning images of the fiery ring.

Chia Zong Lin (19S72), member of HCAstro remarked:
“Astronomy usually appears dry and mundane to the public. The annular solar eclipse we viewed today was an excellent opportunity to spark the interest of the public in astronomy. I am very happy to see students and their family members of both Hwa Chong Institution and Nanyang Girls’ High School learn more about astronomy and watch the solar eclipse together.”

Astronomy compels us to look beyond our planet, our history, ourselves and to seek to unearth the mysteries of life itself. In that light, HCIAstro will be hosting more outreach events this year, namely the biannual Night Under the Stars (NUTS) stargazing session.

观赏百年一遇的日环食天文奇景

吴潇    19S67

    2019年12月26日,天文学会成功举办了本年度最后一项大规模活动——日环食观测,正好为我校百年校庆划上一个完美的句号。虽然12月是雨季,可是当天上苍却很合作,一大清早阳光普照,让准备观看日食的天文迷满怀期待。

    9时许,已在网上报名的同学、校友、老师、家长和公众,陆续到立人楼6楼教室集合,先上1小时15分的速成课,借此了解本次日食现象的形成过程以及学习望远镜的使用方法。参加者都很专心地聆听日环食形成的原理,天文学会学术组长田书豪(19S7F)负责教导,他通过一连串有趣的问题引发大家思考,再揭示天体运行的奥秘。图像和数据的结合使得抽象的天文概念更容易被天文新手理解和吸收。接着参加者亲自动手学习望远镜的装配,进一步了解天文爱好者观星时所使用的专业器材。

    接近中午时分,在仔细提醒观测日食的安全事项后,参加者移步至楼下的天文草坪,只见他们三五成群,或拿起发放的观日食眼镜,或使用天文望远镜,将目光投向熟悉却又神秘的太阳。下午1时22分至24分,月亮逐渐移到太阳的正中,太阳没被月亮遮掩的部分形成一圈光环,看起来就像一枚耀眼璀璨的大钻戒。此时,全场齐声欢呼,纷纷鼓掌,很多人第一时间拿出手机把这绚丽的天象定格下来,并上传至社交媒体平台与网友分享。

    中学部的郑毅帆(3S1)说:“我对天文的兴趣源自于网上的视频。”此刻能够如此近距离接触天文望远镜对他来说是有趣且难得的机会,能够观测到日食更令他兴奋:“日环食平均每隔1-2年都会在全球各地出现,但在新加坡却是极为罕见的奇观,视觉上非常震撼。”

    天文学会财政兼福利组长谢宗霖(19S72)说:“天文学在一般人眼里是高深的学科。今天的‘赏日活动’反响不错,能激发公众对天文的求知欲,我们策划已久的努力总算没有白费。”他表示,除了中学部和南中的学弟妹、更有不少外校的同学出席,学习天文知识、观测难得一见的天文现象,令他觉得办类似活动很有意义。

他也透露天文学会将在2020年继续举办常年重头活动“星空漫游”,向更多同好传授天文知识,激发人们对天文学的兴趣。他说:“在广袤无垠的天宇,蕴藏着数不清的奇迹与未解之谜,天文学的重大发现可以给人类文明带来巨大的进步,这是毋庸置疑的。”

 

2019年岁末的日环食是21世纪10年代最后一场盛大的天文奇观

戴上特别的眼镜就能看到日环食的真容 (谢宗霖摄,19S72)

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