Get ready for a truly cosmic show as one of the most dramatic events of the astronomical calendar begins.
UAE stargazers are once again in for a thrilling summer with the arrival of another celestial hoedown – the Perseid meteor shower. The sky show has been going on since late July and is set to peak on Tuesday (13th August).
According to astronomical experts, Dubai skies will light up with some of the best opportunities to catch glimpses of shooting stars this year, due to cloudless skies and the sheer quantity of meteors set to fall.
It’s not the only cosmic event this summer; earlier this July we were graced by the appearance of a half-blood lunar eclipse.
Where’s the best spot to watch the meteor show?
Ideally, you’ll want to be as far away from light and air pollution as possible. So rural and desert areas tend to be best.
With hundreds looking skywards to witness this significant event, Dubai Astronomy Group (DAG) has organised a ‘Perseid Meteor Shower Party’ in the Al Qudra desert. Here you’ll observe the majestic planets of the Solar System, the beauty of the almost close-to-full moon and maybe a few fireballs.
10pm-4am. Adults from AED 120, children (under 13) from AED 70. Find out more and buy tickets at dubaiastronomy.com
What actually is a meteor? (And ‘a Perseid’ for that matter).
Meteors, or ‘shooting stars,’ are streaks of light across the night sky caused by small bits of rock or debris called meteoroids igniting from the searing friction with the Earth’s atmosphere.
Once inside the exosphere these tiny hunks of space rock travel at speeds in excess of 20 kilometres per second. Almost 60 times the speed of sound. The streak of light or ‘tail’ comes from the trail of glowing particles it leaves behind it.
The annual Perseids shower, which produces the greatest visible number of meteors (on average 60-70 meteors per hour) occurs when the Earth passes through the densest, dustiest area in the path of comet Swift–Tuttle.
Don’t worry! The chances of Perseid meteors landing on our heads are very small since most are smaller than a grain of sand, almost all of them disintegrate before getting anywhere near the Earth’s surface.