The newly completed Astropark established by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department was opened to the public today (January 30).
Situated in Chong Hing Water Sports Centre, West Sea Cofferdam, High Island Reservoir, Sai Kung, the Astropark, which cost $3 million to build, is equipped with stargazing facilities and managed by the Hong Kong Space Museum.
An LCSD spokesman noted that although Hong Kong was affected by light pollution, there were still some places in remote areas like Sai Kung and Lantau which were good enough for stargazing. After collecting opinions from astronomy groups, the Government decided to set up the Astropark in Chong Hing Water Sports Centre to promote the stargazing culture in Hong Kong, and to arouse public awareness of preserving the dark night sky as a natural resource for future generations. It will also be a convenient stargazing park with recreational, educational and astronomical facilities for the benefit, use and enjoyment of the public and star lovers.
Occupying a site of about 1,200 square metres, the Astropark is divided into three zones: the Educational Zone, Naked-eye Observation Area and Telescopic Observation Area.
Installed in the Educational Zone are eight replicas of ancient Chinese astronomical instruments, including an exact replica of the armillary sphere, star dial, moon dial, upward looking bowl sundial, gnomon, equatorial sundial, horizontal sundial and direction determining table. In addition, a shadow sundial there allows visitors to tell the time by using their own shadows projected on the ground. The pavilion in which a simulated night sky will be projected allows visitors to learn about the constellations even when the weather does not allow stargazing.
In the Naked-eye Observation Area, visitors can enjoy stargazing by lying comfortably on specially designed, reclining stargazing benches.
In the Telescopic Observation Area, four sets of 20 x 80 binoculars (with magnification of 20 and aperture of 80mm) specially designed for viewing any direction in the sky with ease are installed so that visitors can use the binoculars to view celestial objects at nighttime. The park also provides amateur astronomers with 10 telescope piers to spare them the effort of carrying heavy tripods when they bring along their own telescopes for observation. Visitors can also use the two star trackers to take astrophotographs with ordinary cameras by manually offsetting the diurnal motion of celestial objects.
To enhance public interest in and knowledge of astronomy, the Space Museum will organise different stargazing activities and guided tours in the park.
The Astropark is open 24 hours and throughout the year. Admission is free. However, those who want to get a power supply should make prior bookings as campers at Chong Hing Water Sports Centre and pay the camp fee. For details of the booking of camping facilities in Chong Hing Water Sports Centre, please visit www.lcsd.gov.hk/watersport/en/hiri_book.php.
Visitors can take KMB routes 94 and 96R, or Citybus route 698R, or Green Minibus routes 7 or 9 to Pak Tam Chung, Sai Kung, and then take a taxi to the Astropark. Visitors can also hire a "kaito" at Sai Kung Pier to and from the Astropark.
Ends/Saturday, January 30, 2010
Installed in the Astropark, the star dial, also called the pole-star dial, is an instrument for determining the time at night by observation of the stars.
Installed in the Astropark, the Pavilion cum Mini-Planetarium in which a simulated night sky will be projected allows visitors to learn about the constellations.
The Astropark is a theme park with stargazing facilities.