UAE to be dazzled by once-in-a-lifetime Camelopardalids meteor shower
Stargazers in the UAE will get a nature’s treat next week by witnessing a never-before-seen meteor shower called Camelopardalids.
The spectacular shower will be visible on the morning of May 24 when the earth, for the first time, will pass through comet 209P/Linear’s leftovers. Astronomers have been making arrangements all over the world to see the event, with many expected to gather in Dubai’s desert at a spot away from the light pollution.
Abdul Wahab from Dubai Astronomy Group said a public event would be arranged on the evening of May 23 until sunrise at Bab Al Shams Desert Resort with an expected attendance of more than 500 stargazers. Nature’s spectacular show will also be broadcast on the web in collaboration with Slooh Telescopes and Astronomers without Borders, he said.
He said the debris trail from comet 209P/Linear, discovered in 2004, is the originator of this meteor shower and the Earth will cross the comet path on the morning of the May 24. “Based on professional forecasts this new meteor shower could be an astronomical experience of a lifetime and produce a unique meteor storm,” he added.
Astronomers said the meteor showers such as Leonids and Perseids have been happening for hundreds of years, but Camelopardalids would be happening for the first time. The chunks of rock and material, left by comet 209P/Linear will burn up in the atmosphere to form shooting or falling stars.
The storm, Abdul Wahab said, would see dense outbursts of bright multiple meteors and provide in excess of 1,000 shooting stars an hour during the peak happening. Lowest expectation would be 60-100 meteors an hour throughout the night, he said.
Dubai Astronomy Group’s event, he said, will also provide visitors an opportunity to look through the club telescopes at other celestial objects including Saturn, Mars, double stars, globular clusters, nebula and other deep sky objects, in addition to moonrise just before sunrise, in close conjunction with the planet Venus. The event will feature live presentations and videos about the night sky, plus live broadcasts with others in the international outreach community, he added.