A year of plenty for local sky gazers
2016.12.14

THE stars look fixed in the sky, but sometimes there is a shooting star which disappears in a flash. Legend has it that if you finish saying a wish before the star vanishes the wish will be granted.

The scientific name for a shooting star is meteor. It is a rock that hurtles from outer space. It burns and shines brightly when it enters Earth’s atmosphere. When there are many meteors in the sky at the same time, we have a meteor shower.

The Hong Kong Space Museum (香港太空館) provides information on meteor showers. The last such phenomenon of the year is called the Geminids, which began on 4 December and continues until Saturday. But local viewing conditions are bad.

The Hong Kong Observatory (香港天文台) says there will be three major meteor showers next year. Up to 150 shooting stars can be seen in an hour. The first is the Quadrantids which will peak on 3 January. The Perseids will be at its brightest on 12 August, and the Geminids is back on 14 December. Sky gazers will also be able to see a total solar eclipse, a penumbral lunar eclipse, an annular solar eclipse and a partial lunar eclipse.