Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Enthusiasts are hoping to see as many as 120 meteors an hour at the height of the Geminids shower.
Silvia Razgova / The National
Enthusiasts are hoping to see as many as 120 meteors an hour at the height of the Geminids shower.

UAE stargazers look to the skies for glimpse of Geminids meteor shower

The Geminids shower will be the last of the year and enthusiasts are hoping for a dazzling cosmic display with streaks of light flashing across the night sky.

DUBAI// Stargazers are hoping for clear skies on Thursday night to catch a glimpse of a spectacular meteor shower.

The Geminids shower will be the last of the year and enthusiasts are hoping for a dazzling cosmic display with streaks of light flashing across the night sky.

Enthusiasts are hoping to see as many as 120 meteors an hour at the height of the shower.

The best times to look skywards will be from midnight tomorrow through to the early hours of Friday.

"I think it will be a very interesting evening as we are expecting to see some really nice shooting stars," said Hasan Ahmed Al Hariri, the head of Dubai Astronomy Group.

"We expect the meteor shower to start slowly from the late evening and then increase as the night goes on."

The UAE sees up to nine meteor showers a year with the three biggest happening in August, November and December.

"This one tends to be the best for viewing purposes because the weather is a lot better and we usually get clear skies.

"One of the things we want to do as a group is to encourage people to learn more about astronomy," he said.

The group has organised a special viewing at its Al Zubair Camp just outside of Sharjah on Thursday evening.


View The Geminids shower viewing in UAE in a larger map


"This year we are also encouraging people with digital cameras to come along and we will provide guidance on how best to take pictures of the meteor shower and the night sky in general," said Mr Al Hariri.

According Nasa, the Geminids shower is made up of pieces of debris from a mysterious object known as 32000 Phaethon.

"Near closest approach to the Sun (perihelion), Phaethon exhibits increases in brightness similar to that of a comet; however, its orbit is characteristic of an asteroid," said the Nasa website.

"Extinct comet or asteroid? The debate still rages among astronomers."

Each year around mid-December, the Earth enters Phaethon's debris stream, which causes the Geminid meteor shower.

Unlike the two other main meteor showers, Perseids in August and Leonids in November, Geminids are a relatively young event with the first reports dating back to the 1830s, said Nasa.

"Over the decades the rates have increased - it is now the best annual meteor shower - and we regularly see between 80 and 120 per hour at its peak on a clear evening.

"The moon will hamper that this year, but if your skies are clear you can still expect to see as many as 40 per hour," said Nasa.

Although the best time to see the shower is expected to be Thursday, it could happen anytime from tonight to Sunday.

"There might be a chance for people to see something from today but we think the best time frame will be from around midnight on Thursday through to around dawn on Friday," said Mr Al Hariri.

"Clear skies are essential for viewing these things and that's why it's better to be away from the cities because the light from tall buildings can make it difficult to see."

According to the National Centre of Metrology and Seismology in Abu Dhabi, it is likely to be partly cloudy in northern regions on Thursday while coastal areas may see dust in the atmosphere due to high sea winds, which could affect visibility.

As well as the meteor shower, guests at the Thuraya observatory will also be able to use the group's 16" telescope to view Jupiter.

Entry is Dh10 for adults and Dh5 for children. The event starts from 8pm on Thursday though to the early hours of Friday morning.

For more information, visit www.dubaiastronomy.com


Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 An tenant in the Al Barsha area of Dubai has been sent a non-renewable contract by the landlord. Randi Sokoloff / The National

Dubai landlord refuses to pay back RERA fees after losing rent case

Keren Bobker helps a tenant who wants to know how to reclaim his RERA case fees and who has also been sent a contract with a “one-year nonrenewable” note.

 A customer looks at a large mock-up of videogame console Game Boy.  Yoshikazu Tsuno / AFP Photo

Nintendo’s Game Boy at 25: hand-held legacy lives on

Nintendo’s trailblazing Game Boy marks its 25th anniversary Monday with the portable device’s legacy living on in cutting-edge smartphone games and among legions of nostalgic fans.

 JP Duminy played a cameo knock of 52 not out from 35 balls to tip the game in Delhi Daredevils' favour. Pawan Singh / The National

Kolkata Knight Riders lose way as Duminy sizzles for Delhi Daredevils

JP Duminy keeps his head as cameo at the death helps swing it in Delhi's favour in Dubai after captain Karthik plays the anchor role.

 A projectionist takes a break in the projection room at Ariana Cinema in Kabul, Afghanistan. Going to the movies, once banned under the Taliban, has become a popular form of entertainment in Kabul, but women and children rarely take part. All photos by Photo by Jonathan Saruk / Reportage by Getty Images

Afghan cinema: Forbidden Reel

The lights go down and the projector whirls into action as Sher Mohammed, 35, begins his routine, bouncing back and forth between two projectors, winding reels, and adjusting the carbon arc lamps inside the projectors.

 The mother removes the noose with the help of her husband from around the neck of Balal.

In pictures: Mother forgives her son’s killer as he awaited his execution

An Iranian mother spared the life of her son’s convicted murderer with an emotional slap in the face as he awaited execution with the noose around his neck.

Tyrese reunited with Fazza

Tyrese today posted on his social media accounts (Twitter, Instagram and Facebook) his pleasure at being reunited with the Crown Prince of Dubai Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National