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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 23 January 2021

UAE IN SPACE

UAE sky full of 'shooting stars': Geminids meteor shower puts on dazzling display

About 200 people turned up at Wadi Shawkah in Ras Al Khaimah to watch the showers

The Geminids meteor shower, known as the most visible of its kind, lit up the UAE’s skies late on Sunday and in the early hours of Monday.

Stargazers who watched the celestial event were thrilled by the display. Clear skies and the low moonlight enhanced the experience, especially for those who observed the spectacle away from light pollution.

About 200 people turned up at Wadi Shawkah in Ras Al Khaimah to watch the showers at their peak, from 10pm to 2am. The gathering was organised by Dubai Astronomy Group.

“When I got out of my car I saw so many stars, and then I saw so many meteors shooting by. I counted 14 of them in the first half-hour,” Ahmed Dihyah, a young observer who was accompanied by his parents, said during the event.

Asim, another skygazer, said: “It’s a wonderful experience overall. I see a lot of things in the sky. I’ve spotted about eight meteors so far.”

The Geminids meteor showers occur annually in December, but they were at their most intense last night.

Geminids are leftovers of 3200 Phaethon, which US space agency Nasa has labelled as either an asteroid or extinct comet.

They appear as shooting stars to observers when the dust left behind by the space rock burns up the in Earth’s atmosphere.

They were observable all over the world, except Antarctica, which currently has 24 hours of sunlight.

Hasan Al Hariri, chief executive of Dubai Astronomy Group, said the strategic location in Ras Al Khaimah added to the experience.

“It’s a unique location. The stars are shining and meteors are falling. People are really enjoying the event,” he said.

The next meteor showers will be the Quadrantids, which are known to produce "fireballs", in January.

Updated: December 14, 2020 11:50 AM

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