An annual summer spectacle of shooting stars is expected to reach its peak this Wednesday or Thursday, under what astronomers are calling the most ideal sky-gazing conditions in five years.
Every 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, resulting in a beautiful meteor shower called the Perseids.
Unlike last year, when a super-moon lit up the sky and made watching the shower difficult, the Perseids will peak a day before the new moon this week, meaning there will be no light to obscure the show.
That means those of us in Qatar could see up to 60 meteors per hour, Jassim Lari, co-founder of the Qatar Astronomy, told Doha News.
Though there’s no moonlight to contend with, residents may find the high heat and humidity a bit of a challenge, he said.
How to watch
Perseids is usually easiest to view when the sky is the darkest – typically just before dawn. Lari suggested stargazers head outside between 8pm on Aug. 12 and dawn on Aug. 13.
No special equipment is needed to check out the show, and those who wish to watch it from Qatar should head to areas without light pollution, such as Al Fuwairat and Al Kharrara, he added.
For those who can’t head outdoors on Wednesday night, NASA will be live-streaming the meteor shower on Aug. 12 and 13 here.
Do you plan to watch? Thoughts?