Bad news for stargazers: Quadrantids meteor shower view 'unfavourable'

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The best time to see it would be from 1am to 6am on Saturday morning

Wong Tsui-kai |
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The meteor shower will peak during the day, but some can still be seen in the mornings before and after.

The Quadrantids meteor shower will be coming to Hong Kong, but observation conditions are unfortunately “unfavourable”, according to the Hong Kong Space Museum.

“There are several factors that affect how much can been seen,” says Assistant Curator Prince Chan Chun-lam. “One of them is the moonlight. Right now it is at a half moon and moonset is earlier, so it would not be the most direct influence.”

He explains the maximum activity of the shower is expected to take place around 4pm local time during the day, which is not a good time for Hong Kong stargazers. “The Quadrantids also has a narrower peak of just a few hours.” Chan said.

Stargazing 101 in Hong Kong

“A common misconception people are seeing is the “Zenith Hour Rate (ZHR), which is around 120 for the Quadrantids, and people think there will be 120 meteors an hour. It is actually an estimation of the peak rate.”

The best time to try to go would be 1am to 6am on January 4. "You could also try the morning of January 5, but it might not have the best view,” said Chan.

He advises astronomical enthusiasts to go to areas that have wide fields of view and less light pollution, such as country parks. “You might want to download a star chart or get an app on your phone. Another best practice is to use red light instead of normal white lights. It is better for visibility."

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