Astronomy -Orionids

This article is written by Elizabeth and Kaiwen from Cedar Girls’ Secondary School.

The universe. The stars. The moon. An occasional eclipse. Is that all there is to the universe? Have you ever wondered up at the sky, wanting to see something fascinating and inspiring? Well, here comes the Orionids to light up your world!

In Singapore, a city of lights, it is nearly impossible to star-gaze, with the exception of certain stars that shine extremely brightly. Due to this reason, many of us are led into thinking that the universe only consists of the more common planets and stars, including Jupiter, Mars and the Sun. With our limited knowledge of astronomy, people do not realise the beauty of the universe and that there is more to the universe than just these planets.

Sometimes, if you are lucky, you may have seen what seems like a shooting star and even paused to make a quick wish. While many believe that the bright glow they see moving across the sky is a shooting star, astronomers call them orionids. Orionids are not commonly known amongst amateurs who star-gaze for fun. In fact, it would be astronomically wrong to call orionids shooting stars. So, check out our infographic about orionids as a quick introduction to these fascinating “shooting stars”.

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Sounds interesting? Different from your normal shooting star? Then why not catch the next orionids in the darkest place you can find in Singapore!

Orionids will appear to radiate from just below the constellation of Orion

Simulated View from Singapore, Looking towards East at 0140h on 22 October

stimulated-view-of-orionids
Stimulated view from Singapore, Looking towards East at 0140h on 22 October (Source: Stellarium)

Some personal thoughts

When the astronomy elective was first launched in our school, we were both excited and intrigued as to what this course entails. Just like many others, we also had limited astronomical knowledge and this would be the perfect opportunity to find out more.

Through the course of this elective, we have both gained intellectual knowledge as well as hands-on experience in astronomy-related activities such as making sundials, peering through the telescopes, startrails photography and more. Both of us managed to entered the portable planetarium (rented from Singapore Science Centre!) and experienced a world full of stars, planets and constellations. Needless to say, it was beautiful. Even though we are unable to see them in the bright sky of Singapore, we were fascinated by just learning about the different moon phases as well as the different stages that the stars undergo.

portable-planetarium
The portable planetarium that we entered
portable-planetarium-2
View from inside the planetarium

Some may think that astronomy is boring and very factual. We beg to differ. Astronomy is actually rather simple. One does not need to delve into calculations in order to enjoy the wonders of the sky. In fact, one simply needs to recognise certain patterns and names such as the constellations, to truly appreciate star-gazing without nodding off to sleep. Yes it’s possible.

This elective has truly opened up our perspectives on the universe around us. What was simply “twinkle twinkle little stars” slowly gained individual names and facts. Previously unknown terms like supernova, black holes, annular eclipses were explained and brought a new dimension to what the night sky actually entails.

We have really enjoyed our time in the Astronomy Elective and we hope to encourage any hesitant folk out there to step up and learn more about the universe in any way you can. You never know what you might learn!

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