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Geminid meteor shower and Jupiter-Saturn conjunction astronomical events to occur in Hong Kong this December
     Two special astronomical events, the Geminid meteor shower and the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction, will occur in Hong Kong this December. The two events will be visible if weather permits.
     The Geminid meteor shower is one of the meteor showers that boasts the best condition for observation this year. The ideal time for observation in Hong Kong would be at around 2am to 3am on December 14 (Monday). The Curator of the Hong Kong Space Museum, Mr Lawrence Lee, said that during a meteor shower, meteors appear to emanate from a point (the radiant) in the sky, the public may be able to see around 20 to 30 meteors per hour under favourable weather conditions at a dark rural location with a wide field of view.
     A Jupiter-Saturn conjunction occurs when Jupiter and Saturn have the same ecliptic longitude. It is a relatively uncommon astronomical phenomenon recurring roughly every 20 years. On December 21 (Monday), Jupiter and Saturn will only be separated by about six arc minutes, around one-fifth of the size of the moon. Visually they are so close that the public may not be able to discern the two planets as separate bodies with the naked eye. This has been the closest approach of the two planets for almost the last 400 years. Between 6pm and 7.30pm that evening, members of the public could look at the two planets at a location with an unobstructed view of the sky in the west-southwest direction. The public can observe the event on the nights of December 20 and 22 (i.e. the days before and after the date of conjunction), as the two planets will remain very close. Mr Lee reminded the public that the next Jupiter-Saturn conjunction will occur in 2040 but that the planets will be separated by more than one degree (around twice the moon's size). They will not come so close again until 2080. In addition, the Hong Kong Space Museum made a simulation video of the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction. For details, please visit youtu.be/i8ohqk4snd4.
     Since weather always affects astronomical observations, members of the public should refer to the weather forecast issued by the Hong Kong Observatory. During observation, please stay vigilant in observing personal hygiene, complying with anti-epidemic measures and maintaining social distancing. The details of the above astronomical events, such as their causes and tips for observation, are available at the webpage of the special exhibition "2020 Astronomical Events" of the Hong Kong Space Museum: hk.space.museum/en_US/web/spm/exhibition/specialexhibition/2020-astronomical-events.html.
Ends/Friday, November 27, 2020
Issued at HKT 15:00
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