Perseid meteor shower treat possible for Singapore stargazers this weekend

Perseid meteor shower treat possible for Singapore stargazers this weekend

A Perseid meteor streaks across the sky above desert pine trees on August 13, 2015 in the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area, Nevada. (Photo: AFP/Ethan Miller/Getty Images North America)

SINGAPORE: Astronomy lovers in Singapore may just be in for a treat this Saturday and Sunday (Aug 12-13) when the annual Perseid meteor shower peaks.

The meteor shower happens as the Earth passes through debris left behind from the comet Swift-Tuttle every August. As these rocks fall through the planet's atmosphere, they appear as streaks of light across the sky.

According to interest group Singapore Sidewalk Astronomy co-founder Gary Chee, the best time to observe the showers would be just before the moon rises - when it is not lighting up the sky - and after midnight, when the radiant point is higher. 

Mr Chee said some Singaporeans have been lucky to witness past Perseid showers. However, he said, observers must be patient as activity will appear randomly in the sky, lighting up for a mere second or so.

For those interested in catching the celestial event, Mr Chee recommended places such as Changi Beach, West Coast Beach and Bishan Park, where there are better views of the night sky. He said that high areas such as rooftop gardens, where viewers could avoid sources of local light pollution such as street lamps, are also good viewpoints. 

No special instrument is needed for the sightings, he added.

According to the Singapore Science Centre, the highest rate of meteors usually occur between 2am to 5am. However, urban environments like Singapore will see significantly fewer meteors.

Source: CNA/ad