Author Topic: Frustrating start in a country unfriendly to astronomy - Need help in Singapore  (Read 680 times)

Ronald Saldana

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Singapore has become the most frustrating place to take up our hobby.

1.  Light pollution is simply dreadful.  Does anyone know a good region to set up?
2.  Cars are ridiculously expensive to have, so can not only drive with my equipment to a dark location.
3.  Many people reside in flats, and there is hardly any open area without having to travel by car.  I tried convincing the construction management to let me onto the roof, but they are jobsworths.
4.  Clouds everywhere.  Enough said.
5.  Astronomy gear is ridiculously pricey.  I recently visited California, also discovered a fantastic vendor who had everything in stock and at affordable rates.  For instance, an aux splitter in California is 1/3rd the cost as the exact same part in Singapore.  Additionally, I paid twice as much to get a nexstsar se in Singapore than in America.  I have decided to get and ship all my brand new purchases from America, and save 40%.  The merchants in Singapore are a complete ripoff.
6.  Can not find many great individuals here to get help from.

Does anybdy reside in Singapore, who would be inclined to get in touch?



inuninab

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canreosenbi

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https://www.youtube....h?v=dvaeZgQuy4o

Right next to a street light, good for him.

Brandon Leece

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Singapore has got to be the most frustrating place to take up our hobby.

1. Light pollution is simply terrible. Does anybody know a good area to set up?
2. Cars are ridiculously expensive to own, so can't just drive with my gear to a dark place.
3. Most people live in apartments, and there's hardly any open space without having to travel by car. I tried convincing the building management to let me on the roof, but they're jobsworths.
4. Clouds everywhere. Enough said.
5. Astronomy equipment is ridiculously priced. I recently visited California, and found a fantastic vendor who had everything in stock and at reasonable prices. For example, an aux splitter in California is 1/3rd the price as the same part in Singapore. I also paid twice as much for a nexstsar se in Singapore than in America. I've decided to buy and ship all my new purchases from America, and still save 40%. The retailers in Singapore are a complete ripoff.
6. Can't find many good people here to get help from.

Does anybdy live in Singapore, who would be willing to get in touch?

Cross the border to Malaysia where it is less populated and darker skies.Hopefullly they will let you fill out paperwork to transport your gear back and forth and not have to pay customs unless it doesn't make it back (ie. you lost or sold it).

kerolero

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There's lot here I can't help you with, but some advice that you might find useful. I grew up in SE Asia during the Vietnam war and I experienced all of the conditions you're complaining about. The big problem over there is the "Monsoon Season". So you're socked in for up to 4-6 months a year. Outside the Monsoon season however, it's kinda like here in the US South, so you'll get your clear nights. I DO know an area that will provide you with plenty of dark skies and it would be a fun place to be if you can get the forecast ahead of time. It's the Beach! Yes, I know you have to take a car or bus to get there so you have to plan for it but it would be a great place to set up and I'm certain that the Hotels would let you stay on the roof if you're a guest there if you don't want to be on the beach. Call in advance to be sure BEFORE you book them! And tourists walking along would probably LOVE to see what you're looking at if you set up on the beach! You could start your own star party and plan yearly trips there! Just a few thoughts from someone who's dealt with what you're dealing with now....

STARKID2U

sanddotshanpens

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https://www.youtube....h?v=dvaeZgQuy4o

Really, really enjoyed the music to this video. Thanks for sharing.

Edit: pardon the minor thread hijack.

otdaebreathat

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Hey if this hobby was easy.... everyone would be doing it....
Grey

Marlon Hilzer

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If you have a balcony you can still do some observing even with heavy light pollution. If you want to travel to dark skies then you will need a scope you can easily carry on public transportation. With that in mind the Alkaid dobsonian made in Europe would work well for you. Alternatively a 80-102mm APO refractor, a Stellarvue M2 mount, the Nexus DSC and encoders kit for the M2, and a photo tripod would fit in a soft case and be light enough to travel with on bus and train as well as be setup on the balcony.

Personally based on the weather I would go the APO route. The Tele Vue 85mm or Stellarvue 90mm would be my scope choice. They can be found used on Astromart or bought from that vendor in California.

tiostaralzo

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If you google "Singapore astronomy" you'll find a number of useful links/sites.

Other than that, the sun and moon can be good objects to study until you escape the light pollution.

"Sidewalk astronomy" may be a reasonable way of both, observing and making new friends -- perhaps even some who have connections leading to better locations along with reasonable ways of getting there.

As always: Concentrate on what you can do . . . on what you can see.

Joel Hall

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Don't stress about the or light pollution weather - short of living elsewhere you can't fix them.

I've only visited Sing twice but I don't think there's much reason to own a car. You could use a Vespa (and get a mini-trailer) or fit a bicycle with a sidecar. You could even use transit and then get a rickshaw to take you wherever. Whatever you do, the emphasis for darker sky expeditions must be on portable gear.

A SCT will so fine on the moon & planets. Even if they sky is bright, these are easy. A 4" refractor might be more practical for expeditions.

You could make dark sky trips to Malaysia, Indonesia or even Mongolia and western Aus. It's probably better to organise these as part of a group. A lot is possible in a week of observing.

Buying gear - try some Japanese retailers - Kyoei and Kokusai Kohki are both reputable and offered me great service. Bear in mind that you have the S$ +++ so the difference may be local taxes. This is not the fault of your local retailers.

James Przystup

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The Ardent: Thanks for the video. It's quite inspiring because of the effort involved in setup. The most I've done so far is lift my scope downstairs to the poolside in my building in one go. I've since bought a canvas backpack, and plan on carrying everything about 600m away to the beach.

Starkid2u: you're right about the. Each, and fortunately I live a few hundred meters from one.

Faakander2: Malaysia would be nice eventually. The local astronomy club does organise field trips to MY, so I'll definitely go on one of these.

Dr.Who: I did see a TV85 in person, and it was fantastic. Will look into one.

Sketcher: yes you're right. I did find that the science centre observatory here is open to the public every Friday night for observing. Will start there and see if I can make a few friends. One of the local clubs is run by the ripoff vendor I mentioned in my first post. I'm quite annoyed by him, so less I see him the better.

Noisejammer: I think I've just about got a manageable package that I can take with me on public transport. Taxis are reasonably cheap here as well, so that's something to try. I think everything will work out once I meet a few people (since I've just moved here). As for pricing, let me give you an example after exchange rates. The wifi module costs $140 sgd with taxes and shipping to Singapore. The same part is being sold for $300 sgd locally. Similarly, an aux splitter is $23 sgd from California, but the local chap is selling it for $90. That's more than just taxes.

N.

Jose Lukeson

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Singapore seems to be more like a city than a country.

If Singapore had an "outland" where cars were necessary, it would not be able to get away with making car ownership so expensive for urban dwellers.

Not being political, but this seems like a light pollution topic.

cardcudeflee

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Singapore seems to be more like a city than a country.

If Singapore had an "outland" where cars were necessary, it would not be able to get away with making car ownership so expensive for urban dwellers.


Yes you're right, you can drive across the country within an hour. However, would be nice to take a car to a campsite and set the scope up.

byhodete

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Quote

Singapore seems to be more like a city than a country.

If Singapore had an "outland" where cars were necessary, it would not be able to get away with making car ownership so expensive for urban dwellers.


Yes you're right, you can drive across the country within an hour. However, would be nice to take a car to a campsite and set the scope up.
Maybe car rental or a car-sharing could be made cheap and convenient as way of compensation. In large cities in the US it's the parking that is the heavy expense for car owners.

ovisimmus

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My situation is pretty similar to yours. I live in an apartment in the city with horrendous light pollution, and I don't own a car. I don't have a backyard to set up a scope, so I usually end up taking it somewhere.

My advice is this... Get a really portable setup. Like something you could carry onto a plane with you. You can work astronomy into your vacations, something I do regularly. I don't think it's a coincidence that lots of really good vacation destinations also have dark skies. For me, it's a 2 hour drive to dark skies, to an area that has lots of ski resorts. My feeling is that skiing and astronomy are hobbies that work well together

I have a 4" Mak and a photo tripod. It's really easy to bring in a carry-on, although I'm pretty sure my 8" SCT can do it too (though it would monopolize the carry-on bag). One really nice thing about this setup is that it can go in a backpack and I can easily bike someplace with it, like a city park. I feel the parks around here are safe enough, but you'd have to use your own judgment. Anyway, if I go to a park about 2 miles from me, there's a noticeable improvement in the number of stars I can see. I think a lot of cities have "gaps" in light pollution like this. You might use the VIIRS data on lightpollutionmap.info

As mentioned, I don't own a car. I use a car-sharing service for all my dark site trips, which constitutes the vast majority of my observing. If you were to do this, you'd still need to carry your scope to wherever the rental car is parked. So again, it needs to be portable. Just go ahead and ignore any advice to get a Dob unless you hate yourself.