Hongkongers will be in for a real treat as they will be able to witness the Geminid meteor shower until December 17, University of Hong Kong professors have said.
The ideal time to watch the meteor shower would be from midnight to 5am next Thursday from South Lantau and the Astropark in Sai Kung, where stargazers could expect to see 20 to 30 meteors per hour.
Crowned as the "most spectacular meteor shower in 2017" by Hong Kong Space Museum, the Zenithal Hourly Rate of the shower was predicted to be 120 meteors per hour.
But Jason Pun Chun-shing, principal lecturer of HKU Department of Physics, said stargazers should curb their expectations as the figure is an ideal maximum.
"It assumes the observer has totally dark-adapted eyes, the radiant is directly up the zenith during the peak hour, and the observing site has an unobstructed field-of-view open without moonlight and light pollution. It will not realistically take place in Hong Kong," he said.
Pun explained that the peak activity of this shower will occur during daytime in Hong Kong, but said that even in a location with no light pollution, the number of meteors observable in Hong Kong will only be around 70.
HKU astronomer So Chu-wing said the number of meteors observable in a dark location, such as the Astropark in Sai Kung, could possibly reach 20-30 per hour during the best observation period of midnight to 5am on December 14. In regards to urban sites, that number will significantly drop to one per hour.
"The severe light pollution in Hong Kong leads to a drop of over 50 percent of the actual number of meteors observable in most places, and over 90 percent in urban locations," he said.
The department reminded stargazers they don't need to use telescopes, but advised that torches with red light should be used instead of normal torches.
"Strong lighting leads to light pollution and makes dimmer stars and meteors less visible. Red light is better because it won't affect our night vision as much, giving us a better chance to see more meteors," So said.
For those who want to learn more, they can visit http://nightsky.physics.hku.hk/KE/201718/, which contains information prepared by the department and professional tips for viewing the meteor shower.