By Aziz Idris | Borneo Bulletin
Stargazers were treated to a spectacle when the Lyrids meteor shower made its way to Brunei’s night skies on Thursday.
Some 100 local astronomy enthusiasts gathered at Bintudoh Greenspring Resort, Tutong District for the ‘Tonight It Will Rain Stars’ experience to observe celestial objects such as the Moon and planets through telescopes.
The Lyrids meteor event was jointly organised by the Astronomical Society of Brunei Darussalam (PABD), the Brunei Adventure Recreation Association (BARA) and Universiti Brunei Darussalam Students’ Association (PMUBD).
PABD Secretary-General Hazarry bin Haji Ali Ahmad said the occurrence of the Lyrids meteor shower was sourced by the debris from the comet Thatcher. “Earth is passing through this massive stream of comet dust particles that fell into the upper atmosphere,” he said.
“They produce rapid streaks of light commonly known as meteors or shooting stars with an expected rate of 18 meteors in an hour.”
The camp provided participants with hands-on activities, including a workshop on ‘Night Mobile Photography’ by Sonny Jumpo of PABD.
A ‘Launch Your Own Rocketship’ competition was hosted by PABD member Siti Nor Izuana binti Ayob to challenge young participants to construct and launch a simple rocket made from water bottles.
In the morning, participants were brought to an astronomy exhibition featuring a one- to 130-billion scale Solar System model around the resort’s vicinity. The display represented an accurate equivalent scale of sizes and orbital distances of the planets, covering a radial distance of about 160 metres.
Campers also hosted outdoor activities to raise awareness on the environment on the occasion of Earth Day.
Earlier, PABD hosted a sungkai event for orphanage children and committee members, where the guest of honour was Acting Secretary of the Brunei Islamic Religious Council (MUIB) and Vice President of PABD Haji Abdul Aziz bin Haji Akob.
Haji Abdul Aziz presented donations to 12 orphans who took part in the programme.
The camp concluded with a prize presentation ceremony to the winning team of the water rocket challenge competition and top scorers of the online quiz.
Also present in a show of support was People’s Republic of China Ambassador to Brunei Darussalam Yu Hong.