Date: 25/12/2019 – 26/12/2019
Location: Tanjung Piai National Park, Johor, Malaysia
Please be sure to scroll your way to the bottom for the timelapse video of the solar eclipse 🙂
26/12/2019 was a special day for astronomy lovers in Malaysia because on this day, an annular solar eclipse had occurred. The last annular solar eclipse sighted in Malaysia was 21 years ago in the year 1998. This time, Malaysians had the opportunity to witness this unique and rare natural phenomenon again, particularly in Tanjung Piai, Johor and Serian, Sarawak.
A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between Earth and the Sun, thereby totally or partly obscuring the Sun for a viewer on Earth.
There are four types of solar eclipses – partial solar eclipse, annular solar eclipse, full solar eclipse and hybrid solar eclipse.
An annular solar eclipse occurs when the Sun and Moon are exactly in line with the Earth, but the apparent size of the Moon is smaller than that of the Sun. Hence the Sun appears as a very bright ring, or annulus, surrounding the dark disk of the Moon.
Since it was a rare chance to witness this astronomical event in Malaysia, I have decided to bring along the 2 boys to go all the way to Tanjung Piai National Park, which was a 4 hour driving journey down south, to participate in the camping trip + annular solar eclipse observation organized by the Star-Finder Astronomical Society 寻星天文学会
Telescope DIY Workshop
We left home on 25/12/2019 at around 10am and arrived at Tanjung Piai National Park at around 3.30pm. Once we have parked our car and unloaded our luggage, we immediately rushed over to the telescope DIY workshop organized by Star-finder society. The workshop was conducted under a huge canopy where the major event is going to take part at.
We collected the material from the star-finder booth and started following the instruction of the facilitator to complete our first ever DIY telescope. The telescope was made of water pipes, a few optic glasses and aluminum foil.
After the Telescope DIY workshop, we carried all our luggage to the designated camp site where we would spend our evening and night. As it was a requirement set by the authorities of the National Park, we could only start to set up our tents at 6pm and we had to keep our tents by 7am the next day.
Since we still had about an hour plus before we could set up the tent, I took the boys to walk around the area. We should have gone into the national park on that day because the park was closed the next day in conjunction with the Solar Fest event, organized by Planetarium Negara. It was a bummer that we couldn’t visit the southernmost tip of Asia mainland. We will be back!
After setting up our tent, it was time to prepare our dinner. I prepared simple dinner – eggs, sausages and instand noodle. After the meal, the boys happily played with the other kids at the camp site. At 10am, it was time for the boys to sleep.
The Next Day
We woke up at 6am the next day, took some simple breakfast and quickly kept our tent and luggage. After moving our luggage back to our car, we went to the Star-finder booth.
First thing first – setting up our camera and the DIY telescope from yesterday to prepare for the solar eclipse viewing later.
After the setup, we still about 2 hours to go before the solar eclipse commence at 11.26am. The boys and I walked around the Solar Fest venue to look at other booths set up by other organizations, including Pusat Sains Negara, Planetarium Negara, as well as other astronomy clubs and universities. Of course, ice cream was one of the “important” agendas for the boys.
Pusat Sains Negara also had some games for the public, which included the Xbox Kinect. Planetarium Negara was giving away free solar viewing glasses to the public.
According to the news, there were 5000 participants at the Solar Fest. Honestly I didn’t feel like there were so many people but that wasn’t important. The annular solar eclipse was the highlight of the event. Everyone was patiently waiting for the eclipse.
When the moon was almost entering its path to the sun, the organiser started a countdown, which was participated by the crowd. 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1! The crowd cheered and picked up their pair of solar viewing glasses and looked at the sun in the sky.
Annular Solar Eclipse
The moon “entered” the sun at around 11:26am, and after 2 almost hours at 1:21pm, was at the center of the sun for a brief 2.5 minutes before it started to move “out” of the sun.
We didn’t stay till it left the sun completely as the boys were already tired. So we started packing and left the location at around 2pm. Next to our next location – Legoland!!