Stargazers to witness dramatic cosmic display of meteor shower on August 12

Muscat - 

Stargazers in the sultanate will witness one of the dramatic cosmic displays, Perseids meteor shower, lighting up the sky when it is at its peak on August 12 (Sunday). 

The annual meteor shower began on July 17 and will continue until August 24. But the best chance to see it will be on August 12, from around 9pm to the early morning hours of August 13. Perseids occurs normally every year in August with a flare rate of about 80-100 per hour at 60km per second speed. It is expected that enthusiasts will be able to have a good show this time as the night will be dark because of the moon being in its crescent phase.

Ali bin Amer al Shaibani, deputy chairman of the Oman Astronomical Society said that meteor shower occurs when the Earth passes in orbit around the sun through the dust and debris of comet Swift-Tuttle, which is the largest object known to repeatedly pass by the Earth.

He added that meteor shower is actually pieces of comet debris that get heated up as they enter the atmosphere and burn up in a bright burst of light, streaking a vivid path across the sky as they travel at 60km per second.

Shaibani explained that amateur astronomers in 2016 monitored about 150 meteors per hour. This year too, the visibility of the shower is expected to be good. “The moon will be a crescent, which means it will set before the Perseid show gets under way after midnight.
“The moon is very favourable for the Perseids this year, and that’ll make the Perseids probably the best shower of 2018 for people who want to go out and view it,” said Bill Cooke, NASA’s meteor expert.

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