Everything you need to know about the Perseid meteor shower this weekend
TRAVELERS in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are in for a treat this weekend as the Perseid meteor shower is set to fly straight over the historic dunes of Mleiha, near Dubai.
Between 8pm and 1am on Sunday, Aug 12, the “shooting stars” are scheduled to illuminate the sky and the Mleiha Archaeological and Eco-tourism Project in Sharjah are gearing up to give spectators the best possible experience.
“Visitors at Mleiha this weekend are in for a special treat as we ensure a unique and memorable experience for all of them, something that they can hold dear to them when sharing with their friends and families,” Mleiha Archaeological Centre manager Mahmoud Rashid Alsuwaidi said.
What is a Perseid meteor shower?
The performance is put on every year in August when the Earth strikes into the path of the Swift-Tuttle comet.
Tiny pea-sized bits of debris swarm into Earth’s atmosphere at around 212,433 kilometers per hour – way faster than the speed of sound – creating temperatures of over 3,000 to 10,000 degrees Celcius.
The speed and temperature of this debris create glowing lights in the sky known as the Perseid meteor shower.
While those in the Nothern Hemisphere get the best view of the glowing meteors, they don’t get the privilege of seeing them in an entirely non-light-polluted desert, such as Mleiha.
The dunes of Mleiha are only a 40-minute drive from the bright lights of Sharjah city, but far enough away not to be disturbed by the artificial colors.
The final preparations to the dune area near the Mleiha Archaeological Centre, where spectators are due to watch the shower, are underway.
“Visitors can lay back and relax to watch the complete Perseid Meteor Shower from our desert Majlis setting, without the need or use of any special equipment or telescopes, though visitors are free to choose whether or not to bring one,” added Alsuwaidi.
The meteor shower got its name as it appears to shine through the Perseus constellation which in itself was named after the mythical Greek hero who chopped off the head of the evil snake-haired Medusa.
“The dunes at Mleiha, especially around Al Faya Mountain and The Fossil Rock, offer a secluded experience for visitors and sky watchers who look forward to creating great memories out of this opportunity,” Alsuwaidi added.
So grab your blanket, a pair of binoculars, some snacks, and get ready to wish upon a star.