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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 13 November 2018

Perseid meteor shower to shine in dark skies on Sunday night

Earth passes through the dust cloud of comet Swift Tuttle on Sunday night

A Perseid meteor along the Milky Way illuminates the dark sky near Comillas in northern Spain in August last year. Cesar Manso / AFP
A Perseid meteor along the Milky Way illuminates the dark sky near Comillas in northern Spain in August last year. Cesar Manso / AFP

The world will be treated to a special show on Sunday night as the earth passes through the trail of the comet Swift Tuttle, an annual occurence known as the Perseid meteor shower.

As pebble size pieces of stony grit in the comet’s debris hit our atmosphere, it burns up.

The moon will be a waxing crescent and absent from the sky most of the night, so it will dark enough to see up to 60 meteors an hour.

To watch the shower, just head to the darkness of the desert after midnight, throw down a mat and look to the skies. The meteor shower will be visible to the naked eye after midnight in areas without light pollution.

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August is an important month in the traditional Emirati almanac too. According to the 365-day Drour calendar, a traditional calendar informed by the stars, the appearance of the star Suhail on August 22 traditional heralded the end of the pearl diving season and the beginning of moderate weather.

Dubai Astronomy Group will host a Perseid Meteor Shower Party in darkness of Dubai’s Al Qudra desert from 10pm until 4am. This will include talk and a chance to view Jupiter, Saturn, Mars, stars, globular clusters, nebula through the group’s telescopes. It costs Dh150 for adults and Dh70 for children below age 13 and Dh50 for group members. Tickets can be purchased here.