Perseid meteor observing session report 12-13/7/2017 with Astronomical Society of Penang (Lim Choon Kiat Observatory in Pulau Betong)

Notes and photos below from the Perseid Meteor Shower Observing session in a very dark site at tip of island of Penang, Malaysia, on 12-13/8/2017. The event was hosted by the Astronomical Society of Penang.

Observing Notes:

12/8/2017 @ 19:00.

At 19:00, the sky looked poor – completely clouded over. In addition, the 7-timer astro predictions had now changed to cloudy all night, although BBC Weather for Penang still held up some hope of some breaks in cloud later on.

12/8/2017 @ 01:00.

So far the sky has remained cloudy with intermittent rain. However, the turnout has been incredible with around 150 or more members of the public coming along and stauomg for hours hoping for clear skies.

The Malaysians believe that people attending their outreach events need to enjoy their experience even when it is raining and continue to learn about the night sky. Hence, I was asked, together with others, to give ad hoc talks at various points during the night. Thank goodness for aĺl of Damon’s great stuff on meteors in previous RAG talks. I could remember enough to give short talks on what is a meteor and where does it come from, solar flares, radio detection of meteors, and a basic primer on telescope design and set up.

In typical fashion for myself, I opened a window i  the observatory to find a snake staring back at me – photo below – although so far I haven’t dropped anything! I was also suprised at hoe noisy observing in a Malaysian rural village (Kampong) was in August. A constant cacophony of noise accompanied us throughout the night from crickets and frogs calling for mates.

13/8/2017 @ 03:00.

The session ended. Skies remain cloudy – just like the UK! However, it has been fantastic spending a night with such an enthusiastic group of amateur astronomers who really want to teach other people about the night sky – and mere cloud will not stop them!!


Photos from the event:


Article published online by The Star newspaper (Malaysia) who sent a reporter and photographer to the Penang observing event:

Saturday, 12 August 2017 | MYT 10:45 PM

Rain spoils Perseid meteor shower watch in Penang

by logeiswary thevadass

Image: Chong (left) with the stargazers at the Lim Choon Kiat Observatory

BALIK PULAU: Drizzle and cloudy skies prevented stargazers from watching the Perseid meteor shower at the Lim Choon Kiat Observatory in Pulau Betong.

The drizzle, which started in the evening and went on until 10pm, blanketed the sky, creating unfavourable viewing conditions.

The annual Perseid meteor shower, which can be seen with the naked eye, was organised by the Astronomical Society of Penang and was well received by enthusiasts last year.

However, the crowds on Saturday were smaller due to the weather.

Society president Dr Chong Hon Yew said that the best time to watch the Perseid meteor shower is after 1am.

“The Perseid meteors are caused by streams of cosmic debris known as meteoroids entering the earth’s atmosphere. They become incandescent as a result of friction with the atmosphere as they travel at about 58km a second and appear as streaks of light,” he said.


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