The Telok Kemang Observatory in Malaysia sits just 8 miles (13 km) south of the seaside town of Port Dickson, not far from Kuala Lumpur. The observatory lies on a headland with a wide and expansive view of the Straits of Melaka, and its priviledged location at a latitude of 2 degrees north provides coverage of the entire celestial sphere. The observatory complex of Baitul Hilal—meaning House of Crescent, of which Telok Kemang is a part—represents the main venue for astronomical observation in the country, hosting a yearly assembly of “Ahli Falak” (national astronomers) who monitor the heavens to determine special dates in the Muslim calendar such as the beginning of the fasting month and the Eid celebratory holiday. With its 24-inch (61 cm) telescope—the largest in Malaysia—the Telok Kemang observatory is open to the public on regular business days for afternoon solar observation, and also for night-sky viewing until midnight.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.