Astronomy club members in high spirits observing partial solar eclipse

SJK (T) RAMAKRISHNA science group head G. Logeswari and several other teachers were excited to observe the partial solar eclipse for the first time.

“We have read about it in our text books, but have never seen it live.

“This is a very good experience for us as teachers. We can now teach our students about thephenomena, having seen it first hand,” she said.

Logeswari, 35, added that she hopes to bring her students to witness the eclipse the next time around.

Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM)’s Pure Chemistry student Siow Hao Sen, 22, also could not contain his excitement witnessing the eclipse for the first time.

“I am very excited as it has been a childhood dream to witness this.

Universiti Sains Malaysia students conducting a pinhole camera experiment during the partial solar eclipse as it is supposed to reflect during the eclipse with (in yellow) Assoc Prof Dr Chong Hon Yew who is holding up the mirror. The observation of partial solar eclipse organised by Penang Science Cluster USM Astronomy club at jetty opposite Wisma Yeah Chor Yee, Penang.
Dr Chong (holding up a mirror) to conduct the experiment with students from USM Astronomy Club, Penang Science Cluster and Orionids Group. 

“We even conducted a pinhole camera experiment during the peak of the eclipse, where we saw reflections projected from the sun onto the cardboard that was held up.

“I have always been interested in astronomy as it involves many aspects of science, which is what I’m passionate about,” said Siow yesterday at the jetty opposite Wisma Yeap Chor Ee in George Town, to view the rare partial eclipse.

Siow is also the president of the USM Astronomy Club, which co-organised the event with Penang Science Cluster and Orionids Group, from 7am to 10am yesterday.

The phenomenon took place from 07:26:35 to 09:30:16, and peaked at 08:24:39 in Penang.

Another USM student and Astronomy Club member Chai Hong Xuan, 21, enjoyed theexperience of contouring a telescope to view the eclipse.

“I am always interested in astronomical events. I got to contour the telescope and view the eclipse, which is something I will never forget,” said Chai, who is majoring in Applied Biology.

He said it was nice seeing people engage in something many do not know about.

The event saw 44 students from the club andseveral local groups at the jetty.

Two children watching an egg stand upright, some say due to the change in gravity, during the solar eclipse.
Two children watching an egg stand upright, some say due to the change in gravity, during the solar eclipse.

Astronomy expert Assoc Prof Dr Chong Hon Yew, who is also former club academic adviser, said Penang experienced 70% of the eclipse, which was very high.

He said Indonesia experienced total solar eclipse and several students from the club were stationed there to observe it first hand.

“Every year, there are a few eclipses but not all are always visible to everyone in the world.

“It is a good opportunity for the people of Penang to view something this special,” said Dr Chong, who said next year, the eclipse could be seen in the US.

Penang Science Cluster director Yoon Chon Leong said the main aim was to try and inspire students to take up Science.

“Science is not generally considered a funsubject. So, we want to change that by having as many activities like these whenever there is an astronomical occurrence,” he said, adding that they had collaborated with the USM Astronomy Club on various occasions.

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