Campers hoping to witness the Perseids meteor showers were disappointed when the shooting stars were mostly blotted out by the twin killjoys of dust and the Moon. The annual shower's climax takes place in the first half of August as the Earth passes through the trail of debris left by the comet Swift-Tuttle. But this year, a minor sandstorm left dust particles suspended in the air for much of the evening, said Hasan al Hariri, the chief executive of the Dubai Astronomy Group, who led an expedition to the Margham area of Dubai to observe the spectacle. "There was not too much to see; it was sandy, although the sand gradually settled down, but also the Moon rose," he said. "The sky was quite bright because of the Moon." He said the turnout was unexpectedly large, with about 400 people showing up, compared with 150 last year. "It was just like an endless train of people." But the evening was not a complete waste. After arriving at the observation site at 11pm on Wednesday, the group spent three and a half hours setting up telescopes and completing a briefing on meteor showers before taking turns observing the Moon's craters and Jupiter, which shone brightly, as well as the occasional meteor. "We were a little disappointed, but whatever was there was better than nothing," he said. "People lay down on the ground, families next to each other, then you started to hear the 'oohs' and 'aahs' as they saw things in the sky." What they saw depended largely on chance. "Some had the luck to see three or four meteors," said Ankit Choudhery, 24, an Indian businessman who was camped out. "I saw about seven of them." "Because of the dust, we couldn't concentrate on the sky, because it was poking our eyes," he said, adding that it was best to lie down and look to the sky. "Sometimes people would just scream when they saw something spectacular." Others were more pragmatic. Saad Mufleh, 31, a Palestinian chemistry teacher who had been on several such outings, said it was just another aspect of stargazing. Last year he saw 20 meteors, but this year he saw only four. Meredith Carson, 31, a public relations professional, said she tried watching the shower from her balcony in Dubai, but the light pollution meant she could not see anything. She wanted to observe the meteors after seeing one last week, during the dimmer phase of the showers, in Jumeirah. "I come from Australia in the countryside and I see a lot of shooting stars but this ... it was a meteor that was bright and orange. It was burning," she said. "I haven't given up hope," she said, adding that she would look for the meteors in the sky again last night from her home. "I don't have enough faith in the meteor shower to drive out." Still, Ms. Carson's evening was also hardly a waste. "I'm a planespotter," she said. "While the meteors were disappointing, at least there were a lot of planes to watch." email@example.com
- RAK birdwatchers asked to help find falcon lost in high winds
- UAE weather alert: dust storm warning to motorists
- Emirati researcher wants to see harsher punishments for those who break environmental laws
- 602 homes belonging to Emiratis to be renovated or rebuilt
- Abu Dhabi ‘has learnt lessons from Fukushima’
- Dubai airports begin early light switch off for Earth Hour
- Most Viewed
- Most Commented
- Drunk British tourist ran about naked in Palm Jumeirah hotel
- An Abu Dhabi family happy to live in the past
- Heartache as Dubai family breaks news to children of couple on missing Malaysia Airlines jet
- Long-awaited UAE child car seat law ‘may be in place next year’
- Woman guilty of online insult gets jail sentence reduced to a Dh300 fine
- Most Viewed
- Most Commented
- Federal Traffic Council approves proposal to lower UAE driving age
- Men ripped off woman’s clothes in bathroom, Abu Dhabi court hears
- Ties no longer mandatory for Dubai cabbies amid safety concerns
- Live blog: With the emergency workers at Rashid Hospital Trauma Centre
- Dubai launches mobile app to faciliate parking and payment
In pictures: Leaders attend UAE and Egypt’s joint military exercise Zayed 1
Leaders from the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt attend a joint military exercise, “Zayed 1” between the UAE and Egyptian armed forces in the Western Region.
In pictures: Best business images of the week to March 12
In pictures: This week's list of business images includes refugee carpet makers in Peshawar; coal energy in Germany and protests at IBM's factory in China.
Porsche, McLaren, and LaFerrari hybrids are best
The Porsche 918 Spyder, McLaren P1 and the LaFerrari set the pace eco-style.
Video: Nepal aim to prove they belong at T20 World Cup
Nepal's cricketers will make their debut at a global event when they play at the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh this month. Produced by Paul Radley
In pictures: 10 things not to miss at Design Days Dubai
Top ten things not to miss at Design Days Dubai.
Best photography from around the world today
The National View's photo editors pick the best images of the day from around the world.