Today was graduation day for those students that started my course last September. Most were happy but not all of them passed. It's been a hectic few weeks dealing with the admin side of their course ending too: exams, resits, marking and preparing stuff for the external examiners. All the while teaching the other cohort of students.
In the next couple of weeks I've got a deadline approaching to finish changes to my course textbook (two of them!) After that....the days of calm. From next week I'll be down to just 49 students (those that started in January) and 7 hours of teaching per week until they leave in the summer.
It's mostly work, work, work with a dash of astronomy. I'm writing end of semester exams for the two maths modules I teach. I'm fine tuning some booklets of maths practice problems for the students to take away over the Christmas period. I spent a few hours last weekend writing an online test for Monday morning...but the computers all crashed when the students came to do it. So I'm hastily writing a replacement to do next Monday instead. On top of that I'm fixing some explanations and problems in the previous version of my maths book; there are a lot of things I need to improve about the textbook since I started teaching some of the topics - like Functions - this year. On Friday I've got an astronomy event with NASTRO at Bamburgh. Not sure what I'm going to talk about at that. Lots of young astronomers expected so I want it to be interactive. Over and out :-)
I'm easily distracted...apologies for the dodgy sound effects below the fold.
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!
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Dr Adrian Jannetta. Amateur astronomer, maths teacher and science enthusiast.