2019 is about to come to an end, but before the curtains close, nature is about to put on a big show for us. During the month of December, prepare yourself for a display of the year’s most spectacular meteor shower and partial solar eclipse. Better mark this down in your calendar as a day to get romantic with your boo, ‘cause you don’t want to be missing this!
Photos courtesy of Antoni Cladera and Wired
Gemini meteor shower
The anticipated Gemini meteor shower is said to be the most breathtaking meteor shower of the year, and it will take place in December. How do meteor showers occur? When comets come around the sun, the dust they emit gradually forms a dusty trail around their orbits. Meteors are then made up of these leftover comet particles and pieces from broken asteroids. Every year, the Earth passes through these trails, causing leftover comets to collide with our atmosphere, making they disintegrate into fiery and colourful streaks in the sky. The Geminids are known to be the best meteor showers because the individual meteors are fast and bright.
Astrologists estimate that the shower will star on the December 13, and during peak times, there could be up to 140 shooting stars. They recommend the best times for star-watching to be between 9pm on December 13 to 6am on December 14, as well as 9pm on December 14 to 6am on December 15. Since the light pollution in Hong Kong city area is quite strong, it would be better to head out to the countryside with open plains to have the best views. We can already imagine how majestic it will be to see the stars fall across the sky. Hope there won’t be any clouds that night!
Photos courtesy of NASA
Partial solar eclipse
There will also be a day eclipse this year on December 26, but because of where Hong Kong is geographically positioned, we will only be able to see a partial solar eclipse, which is no less impressive. According to the Hong Kong Observatory, the partial eclipse will start on December 26 at 12.17 and end at 15.22. If you happen to be outdoors at that time, maybe you can experience the eclipse—but make sure to never look directly at the sun for your own safety.
Partial solar eclipses occur when the moon gets in-between the sun and Earth, partially covering the sun’s disk. Because all three are not perfectly aligned, the moon’s shadow will look like it’s taking a bite out of the sun!