Fireballs, shooting stars to light up UAE skies in 2024’s first meteor shower

According to Nasa, the Quadrantids are considered to be “one of the best” annual meteor showers

by

Sahim Salim

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Published: Tue 2 Jan 2024, 7:16 PM

Last updated: Wed 3 Jan 2024, 8:02 PM

The night sky in the UAE will come alive as the first meteor shower of 2024 creates hundreds of shooting stars. Days after fireworks lit up the UAE skies to usher in the New Year, the Quadrantids meteor shower will peak on January 4 with its fireballs.

Named after the defunct constellation Quadrans Muralis, the meteor shower is an annual event known for its “intense bursts”, according to the Dubai Astronomy Group (DAG). “Originating from the asteroid 2003 EH1, this rare phenomenon is anticipated to produce up to 60 or more meteors per hour at its peak, creating a dazzling display in the night sky.”

What sets the Quadrantids apart is their rarity and intensity. “The meteor shower is known for its short-lived yet remarkable outbursts,” said the DAG.

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According to Nasa, the Quadrantids are considered to be “one of the best” annual meteor showers. They are known for their bright fireball meteors. “Fireballs are larger explosions of light and colour that can persist longer than an average meteor streak … (They) … are also brighter.”

Stargazers don’t need special equipment or skills to view the shooting stars. All they need to do is find a viewing spot away from the city and street lights — a desert, for instance — lie flat on their backs and look up. It takes about 30 minutes for eyes to adjust to the darkness.

The event’s peak activity has a narrow window and requires “precise timing for optimal viewing”, the DAG said. The group will be hosting an event in Dubai’s Al Qudra

Desert from 11pm to 4am, with ticket prices ranging from Dh80-140.

UAE residents travel deep into the desert to view celestial spectacles. During the Geminids meteor shower peak in December last year, events hosted by the Mleiha Archaeological Centre and DAG saw hundreds of people get cosy under the stars as space rocks burned up in the atmosphere to create luminous trails.

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