Solar Eclipse 2016 @ NUS


 NUS’ Department of Physics organised Solar Eclipse @ NUS on 8 to 9 March. This event celebrated a spectacular astronomical phenomenon, a partial solar eclipse with an obscuration of almost 90% which was visible in Singapore on 9 March. It started at 7:22 am on 9 March, reaching 87% obscuration at 8:23 am.


Solar eclipses occur when the Moon travels between the Sun and Earth, forming a shadow on the Earth's surface. The solar eclipse is a rarity in Singapore. This year’s eclipse was more spectacular than the one observed in Singapore seven years ago, in 2009 (slightly above 80% obscuration).


Two NUS students, Laurentcia ARLANY and Edmund YUEN, travelled to Sulawesi, Indonesia on an expedition led by well-known amateur astronomer Mr Michael MATHEWS, and supported by the NUS Department of Physics, to observe the total solar eclipse. Mr Mathews filmed the solar eclipse and aired a live telecast of the eclipse from Sulawesi.  Nearly 3,000 people tuned in to watch the live broadcast. Ms Laurentcia said, "Seeing a total solar eclipse is a rare opportunity. It will be a different view from what people will see in Singapore, which is only partial."


The two-day event started on the eve of the solar eclipse with public lectures explaining the solar eclipse, safe solar observation and solar imaging. The speakers were Prof Phil CHAN; Mr Alfred TAN, Vice Principal of Paya Lebar Methodist Girls' School (Secondary) and a renowned solar amateur astronomer; and Mr Grey TAN, a founder of “TinyMOS”. “TinyMOS” is a start-up by NUS students that launched Tiny1, the first-ever portable astrophotography camera which can capture barely-visible celestial objects with an exposure of approximately 30 seconds and which offers a live preview for locating constellations and stars.


There was also an overnight star-gazing session at the football field. Students from the Department of Physics, the Special Programme in Science (SPS) and the NUS Astronomical Society (NUSAS) set up telescopes to observe the celestial highlights of the night. 


Many well-known local amateur astronomers such as Mr James LING, Mr Remus CHUA, Mr Kelvin NG, and Mr PAN Junwei were invited to share their expertise. NUSAS also held a Messier Marathon, their first-ever attempt to find as many Messier objects as possible during one night in Singapore. Messier objects are a set of over 100 astronomical objects first listed by French astronomer and comet hunter Charles MESSIER in 1771.


The Faculty also organised a two-day astrophotography exhibition, featuring the works of Mr Remus Chua, former NUS research scholar and renowned astrophotographer, Dr Abel YANG, and Astrophysics students from the NUS Observatory.





Attendees touring the astrophotography exhibition over the two days



NUS staff and students, as well as members of the public, attended the public lectures on solar eclipse, safe solar observation and solar imaging







Near to 3000 people waited in anticipation to witness this rare phenomenon



Watching the live telecast of the total solar eclipse filmed in Sulawesi, Indonesia



Attendees were filled with excitement as they observed the peak of the solar eclipse as it reached 100% obscuration