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Monday, March 4, 2024

Geminids Meteor Shower: Anticipate 120 Shooting Stars Per Hour Illuminating the UAE Sky

Next week, the UAE is set to witness a celestial spectacle as the Geminids meteor shower reaches its peak, showcasing more than 100 shooting stars per hour.

Astronomical Marvel

This astronomical event, active from November 19 to December 24, is hailed as one of the most breathtaking occurrences in the night sky throughout the year.

Peak Performance: Geminids Meteor Shower                                                              

The meteor shower is expected to culminate on Thursday, December 14, appearing particularly vivid as the Moon remains absent.

Dubai Astronomy Group’s Insight

The Dubai Astronomy Group expressed, “The Geminids are considered to be one of the most spectacular meteor showers of the year, with the possibility of sighting around 120 meteors per hour at its peak.”

Accessible Celestial Display: Geminids Meteor Shower

Nasa describes the Geminids as “one of the best and most reliable annual meteor showers,” emphasizing that observers don’t require special equipment or expertise to enjoy the event.

Ideal Viewing Conditions

Finding a dark spot away from city lights, such as a desert, lying on your back and looking up is all that’s needed. Nasa suggests that “after about 30 minutes in the dark, your eyes will adapt, and you will begin to see meteors.” Considering the cold desert conditions, wearing warm clothing is advised.

Characteristics of Geminids: Geminids Meteor Shower

Geminids meteors are known for their brightness and high speed, reaching up to 127,000 km/h. They are characterized by their yellow color, according to Nasa.

Guided Viewing Experience

For those seeking a guided experience, several groups in the UAE are organizing viewing sessions.

Mleiha Archaeological Centre’s Event

The Mleiha Archaeological Centre in Sharjah will host stargazers on December 14 from 6 pm to 1 am, providing an ideal setting at the Mleiha campsite with the Al Faya mountain range and fossil rock as a picturesque backdrop. Ticket prices start from Dh275 for adults.

Dubai Astronomy Group’s Desert Event

The Dubai Astronomy Group is hosting a viewing event on December 14 at Al Qudra desert, offering attendees the opportunity not only to witness shooting stars but also to “learn more about our night sky, observe different planets and objects through our telescopes.” Ticket rates start from Dh160 for adults.

Meteor Origins and Distinction: Geminids Meteor Shower

Meteors, or shooting stars, are created when rocks from space enter Earth’s atmosphere and burn up, creating streaks of light. Notably, the Geminids differ from most meteor showers as they are associated not with a comet but with an asteroid known as the 3200 Phaethon.                        

Nasa’s historical account reveals that the Geminids first appeared in the mid-1800s, initially modest with only 10 to 20 meteors seen per hour. Over time, they have evolved into one of the major meteor showers of the year.

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