Dubai: This weekend in the UAE residents can enjoy a spectacular show of streaking lights in the night sky as the annual Perseid Meteor Shower will peak on Thursday and early Friday.
The celestial show is expected to produce the greatest number of meteors this Thursday night and early Friday morning. In a dark, moonless sky, this shower often produces 50 to 100 meteors per hour. In the Northern Hemisphere, the annual August meteor shower ranks among the favourite meteor showers of the year.
What is the Perseid Meteor Shower?
Made of tiny space debris from the comet Swift-Tuttle, the Perseids are named after the constellation Perseus. This is because the direction and radiant point, from which the shower seems to come in the sky, lies in the same direction as Perseus.
The Perseids arise when Earth passes through the debris of Swift-Tuttle (Comet 109P), discovered in 1862. The comet’s last brush with the inner solar system occurred in 1992, leaving a dusty trail of debris that our planet passes through each summer. As this debris hit Earth’s atmosphere, it burns up and create visible streaks in the sky.
How to catch the show
Dubai Astronomy Group CEO Hasan Al Hariri said people don’t need any special equipment or skills to view a meteor shower. All that is needed is a clear sky and a secluded viewing spot away from the city lights. It may take the eyes five to 10 minutes to get used to the dark.
Al Hariri said for this year’s Perseid shower, the moon will set around 9:45pm and so the night will be in an ideal condition for the show, which will probably be the best meteor shower of 2021. The Perseids are rich in “fireballs”, so the show should be even more dazzling.
Dubai Astronomy Group is organising a ‘Perseid Meteor Shower Party’ on Thursday night, till the early morning hours, at the top of the UAE’s highest peak – the Jebel Jais mountain in Ras Al Khaimah. The event will also provide an opportunity to look through telescopes at other celestial objects in the night sky. The party will feature a presentation and astrophotography and mobile photography training sessions as well.