Keep your fingers crossed for clear skies – the most spectacular meteor shower this year, the Perseids, will be occurring this weekend.
The Perseid meteor shower, dubbed “the tears of St Lawrence” in honour of a martyred Christian saint, was recorded first in China as far back as 2,000 years ago.
Prince Chan Chun-lam, Hong Kong Space Museum’s assistant curator, said the annual Perseid meteor shower – one of the most impressive in the Northern Hemisphere – will be peaking with its most impressive views tonight, with 150 meteors crossing the sky every hour from 9pm to 11.30pm. Don’t worry if you miss it though, there’s another chance coming up tomorrow, when more than 80 meteors will be crossing the sky every hour from 9pm to 11.30pm.
“This year’s Perseid meteor shower has more meteors than last year because Jupiter is drawing more space debris ... nearer to earth,” Chan said.
“Usually the Geminid meteor shower that occurs in December is another much anticipated one that will bring as many meteors as the Perseid, but we are predicting strong moonlight during the peak of Geminid this year, so the Perseids are expected to be the most spectacular one this year,” he said.
However, Scientific Officer for the Observatory, Chong Sze-ning, told Young Post that the weather will remain unstable due to the effects of low pressure near the south China coast.
“The area of low pressure will bring heavy clouds, rain and a few thunderstorms to the city at the weekend. It will be difficult to see the meteors if these unfavourable weather conditions continue,” says Chong.
Chan said the meteor shower will last until August 24, but the frequency of shooting stars would gradually fall to only 10 meteors per hour and they would be much more difficult to observe.
Meteors can be seen with the naked eye, or with the help of a red light torch. The best viewing points in the city include the Astropark in High Island Reservoir in Sai Kung, Shek O, Clear Water Bay Country Park, Tai Mei Tuk in Tai Po and Shui Hau in Lantau Island.