Friday morning I travelled back over the border into Singapore. The taxi driver had some errands to run and people to see so it took a bit longer than expected. Friday was essentially a day off with dinner being the only official engagement.
After dinner we decided to go see the view of Singapore from Marina Bay Sands. The Singapore MRT (the metro/subway) was nice! The main differences between Singapore and, say, Newcastle (or London) was how modern and clean it was.
Unfortunately, I left my phone at the hotel so couldn't take pictures of the stunning cityscape from the top of Marina Bay Sands. The spectacular views of the city were complemented by a dynamic lights and laser show projected into the sky. They obviously don't consider light to be pollution here.
For the first time this week the sky was mostly clear and I could make out the brightest stars in the sky. A trio of bright orange "stars" were particular striking: Mars, Antares (meaning rival of Mars!) and Arcturus were all high in the sky. The sky was hazy towards the south but the bright pairing of Alpha and Beta Centauri were prominent and it was my first time to see them. I had high hopes of seeing the Southern Cross this week. Only one of the stars was visible - the cloud covered the rest of the constellation. The cloud kept pace with the rotating sky so one star was all I saw! For the record I saw Beta Crucis. Singapore is almost on the equator and during 24 hours (or over one year) the entire celestial sphere is visible from here. In the north I could see Vega and some of the stars of the Plough. Overhead was Spica, Mars and Arcturus. In the south the stars we don't see in the UK, like Centaurus and Crux. A great place to do astronomy if there was a powercut!
An 3am start for me. A mad dash to the airport by taxi on another hot day. A plane from Sibu to Kuala Lumpur. Another plane to Singapore (we only found out at the airport that we'd be going to Singapore rather than directly to Johor Bahru). We cleared immigration at Singapore by midday and were driven by taxi back into Malaysia.
We arrived at Foon Yew High School in barely on time in the early afternoon. Four mini classrooms were laid out in the school hall. Unfortunately no projector or whiteboard available to anyone. This pretty much ruled out the lessons I'd been using up until that point. With only minutes until the arrival of my first class of 40 students I decided to do an impromptu session on design considerations in aeronautical engineering and their subsequent impact on experimental test flights.
In other words I just spent the next hour and half making paper aeroplanes with kids. A competition to see who could design a plane to travel furthest in a straight line. After the play-off style tournament the students were allowed to tweak the design before trying again. I got them to come up with branding and logos for their designs (in everyday parlance - they coloured their planes in).
And that was it - the end of the STEM sessions. On Friday we're heading back to Singapore. Only admin, networking and paperwork left on this trip now. And still...no stars at night.
Dr Adrian Jannetta
Guitar strummin' explorer of the universe. Mild mannered maths teacher by day and astronomer by night.