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Perseid meteor show best seen at Simpang Mengayau

12th August, 2017

KOTA KINABALU: Stargazers who are excited about this weekend’s Perseid meteor show, can head to Tanjung Simpang Mengayau, Kudat this weekend for the annual nature spectacle.

The celestial display can be seen in most parts of the country as long as the location is dark. The peak time to watch the display would be this Sunday at 1.30am.

Last year, between 150 and 200 meteors were sighted in an hour. However, this year, watching the Perseids’ display will be a bit more challenging due to the presence of the almost full moon.

Nevertheless, stargazers can still see the fireballs from the brightest bits of Perseid entering the Earth’s atmosphere with the naked eye.

The Star Online has named several places, popular among local stargazers, to observe and photograph this dazzling show. Topping the list is Simpang Mengayau, described as one of the few pristine places for stargazing. It always has clear night skies. The stretches of dark beaches on both sides of its coast also make this place an ideal location for meteor observation.

Other spots are Kampung Teluk Pelanduk, Port Dickson, Cameron Highlands and Pantai Malindo, Penang. Meteor show gazers should avoid light pollution to watch an astronomical event like a meteor shower. A sky far out in the countryside shows more details than one bathed in the glow of a city.

The moon was full on August 7, so by Saturday, August 12, it will have waned to about 80 per cent illumination. What are the Perseids?

Active from July 17 to August 24, the Perseids are particles released from a comet named 109P/ Swift-Tuttle, flying off its tail as it journeys deep into the inner solar system.

Every year, the best time to watch the shower of particles is August 12 or 13. In a normal year you might see 50-75 meteors per hour in a rural location.

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