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Meteor shower to light up UAE sky next month.

Summary: Residents should find a secluded viewing spot and away from the city lights.

Sarwat Nasir

A view of meteor shower over Dubai sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower party organized by Dubai Astronomy Group at Al Qudra area in Dubai.-File photo

The most awaited meteor shower is set to put on a stellar show as about 120 meteors will shoot across the UAE skies in one hour- all which will be visible to the naked eye.

The Geminid Meteor Shower is an annual occurrence, however, this year the conditions over the UAE skies will make the shower more visible, as there will be little interference from the moon.

The show is set to take place on December 14 evening and will go on until the morning of December 15.

According to the CEO of the Dubai Astronomy Group, Hasan Al Hariri, the showers will be visible all around the globe, except Antarctica, as it gets 24 hours of sunlight during this time of the year.

"You don't need any special equipment or a lot of skills to view a meteor shower. All you really need is a clear sky," AlHariri said.

"The Geminid meteor shower is nearly 200 years old, according to known records - the first recorded observation was in 1833 from a riverboat on the Mississippi River - and is still going strong. In fact, it's growing stronger. That's because Jupiter's gravity has tugged the stream of particles from the shower's source ? asteroid 3200 Phaethon ? closer to Earth over the centuries.

"The shower owes its name to the constellation Gemini because the meteors seem to emerge from this constellation in the sky. Meteors should be visible across the entire sky, though from Dubai, the radiant of the shower will appear 58 above your north-eastern horizon at midnight. This means you may be able to see around 120 meteors per hour, since the radiant will be high in the sky, maximising the chance of seeing meteors."

Al Hariri suggested that residents "dress for the weather and be comfortable", especially if they plan on staying outdoors for a long while.

He added that residents should find a secluded viewing spot and away from the city lights. "Your eyes may take 10 minutes to get used to the dark. Lie down on the ground and look up in the direction of the radiant," he said.

The Dubai Astronomy Group is also hosting the 'Geminids Meteor Shower Camp' event on December 14, where residents can view the meteor shower, other celestial bodies and deep sky objects using telescopes.

There will also be a lecture and demonstrations about the stars and the universe in open air and dark sky.

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Publication:Khaleej Times (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:7UNIT
Date:Nov 19, 2018
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