Qatar will get a free light show tonight, courtesy of the annual Perseid meteor shower.
Every year in August, the Earth passes through a cloud of debris – a mixture of ice and dust – from the comet Swift-Tuttle. These then burn up in the atmosphere, and the result is a beautiful meteor shower.
Although it’s best seen in the northern hemisphere, astronomer Sheikh Salman bin Jabor Al Thani of the Qatar Scientific Club has told the Peninsula that stargazers in Qatar will be able to see it clearly from midnight until dawn tonight and tomorrow night, due to the disappearance of the crescent moon at midnight.
This is much better than last year, when the Perseid peaked during the day in Qatar, making it much harder to see.
The shower may still be hard to see in the city, however, as light pollution affects visibility.
However, if you’re in a dark spot, NASA advises that you lie on the ground and look straight up at the sky, as the shower will appear from all directions. It also advises that it can take up to 30 minutes for your eyes to adjust to the darkness.
If you don’t manage to catch it tonight, NASA also has a live stream showing the sky over the Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama in the US.
Will you be staying up to see it?
Credit: Photo by nate2b