KUALA LUMPUR (The Star – page 3): Amateur stargazer Bobby Chiam was so excited over the longest total solar eclipse of the century that he set up two telescopes on his balcony early in the morning to catch the rising sun.
Chiam, 66, did not seem to mind that he could not get a good view of the full eclipse from his Bukit Jalil condominium.
The eclipse in Malaysia was only a partial one with only 8% visibility in the Klang Valley.
“I feel like this is a moment in history and I am able to be part of it,” he said yesterday.
Despite the pouring rain that clouded the skies around 6am to 7am, Chiam and his five friends remained optimistic.
They were finally rewarded with good images of the partial eclipse as it was ending.
The group also recorded the historic event as it was being shown ‘live’ on television.
Chiam’s 15-year love affair with astronomy has seen him start two astronomy societies, Starhunter and Starfinder, besides starting up a business, Stargazer Scientific Sdn Bhd, which distributes astronomy equipment like telescopes, binoculars and lenses.
“This is my very first eclipse viewing,” said David Chan, 36, an IT director, as he looked at the sky while wearing eclipse shades for safety.
“Stargazing is a good way of releasing stress and improving my knowledge.”
The first contact in the Klang Valley occurred at 8.28am while the third ended at 9.48am.
Meanwhile, National Planetarium science officer Fazilah Mohammad Hanafiah reported minute viewings of the partial eclipse due to the bad weather and haze that clouded the skies in the Klang Valley.
In Kuala Terengganu, the solar eclipse viewing at Pantai Kuala Ibai had a turnout of around 1,500 people, including about 800 Universiti Darul Iman Malaysia students.
“Although we missed the maximum contact viewing, we managed to capture some images around 9.40am when the skies cleared up,” said Pusat Sains dan Kreatif Terengganu science executive Misbah Imran Mohammad.