Perseid Meteor Shower
The Perseid Meteor Shower highlights the skies annually. The shower occurs from the 24th July to the 22nd August and is a spectacular natural light show that will be visible to us in the UAE.
The Perseid Meteor shower will be at its most prominent next week between the 12th and 13th August, as the earth goes through the center of the shower. You do not need a fancy telescope or even binoculars to view the tiny particles colliding with the earth’s atmosphere, all you need is to get away from the city lights and have a comfortable chair for your viewing pleasure.
The Perseids are thus called because the point from which they appear to come lies in the constellation Persus. These tiny particles of dust and stones and debris are said to be deposits from the Swift Tuttle Comet in its 130 year orbit of the sun. What we call a meteor is actually the pebbles and debris colliding with the earth’s atmosphere and burning at such a rate that even the smallest of particles creates an incandescent gas that lights up the sky.
The shower is occurring at this moment but will be most visible between sunset and sunrise on the 12th and 13th of August. As the meteor shower reaches its peak the rate of the meteors reaches more than 60 an hour. That’s one a minute, and the show should be fantastic. Furthermore the moon is at a waning crescent during the peak and the moon light should not interfere as much with the visibility of the meteors as it would if it was full.
Scientists say that the best time to view the meteor showers would be just before dawn. Getting away from the city limits is also advised as the bright city lights generally make for poor visibility. Another good time to see the meteors is around midnight. Not only will you be able to see this phenomenon with the naked eye, but you will also have a chance to photograph it, provided you have a decent camera at your disposal.
EW suggests that you go out into the desert and spread a blanket on the soft sand, take family and friends and talk while enjoying nature’s own show. Take some photographs and witness a phenomenon. And don’t forget to wish upon a star…
Dubai Astronomy Group
You can get some amazing views of the night sky if you just venture out of Dubai a little bit or even from your balcony or garden if you are lucky. The desert with it's lack of artificial light is a great place to go star gazing- many people have seen shooting stars and meteor showers.
Dubai Astronomy Group is an enthusiaistic group of amateur astrologers who have regular meet ups and star spotting events. It was founded in 1993 as a non profit organisation and has been very active ever since observing and regarding celestial events. They've even got their own observatory- The Zubair Astronomy Camp. Visit their website for a wealth of information about the skies over Dubai www.dubaiastronomy.com
P.S. If you've got an iPad there's a great app called StarWalk which shows you all the stars and planets etc. based on your location and you can get a sky overlay to line it up with where you are and be able to name all those stars you may have been wondering about. Great fun for adults and kids!