Look: UAE astronomy station cameras capture path of more than 3,000 meteors

The sky lit up with shooting stars as the Geminid meteor shower peaked on Thursday

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Photos: International Astronomy Centre
Photos: International Astronomy Centre

Published: Sun 17 Dec 2023, 9:11 PM

The International Astronomy Centre in the UAE has captured more than 3,000 meteors this last week, as the Geminid meteor shower reached its peak.

In an X post on Sunday, the centre shared photographs of the celestial bodies captured with specialised equipment. These cameras, stationed at three different locations in the Abu Dhabi desert, automatically capture meteors as they appear in the sky. Each station contains 17 low-light-sensitive video cameras. On Wednesday night and the early hours of Thursday, the network photographed more than 1,800 meteors. On Thursday night, which is when the meteor shower peaked, more than 1,600 meteors were captured. The centre explained that Thursday night was cloudy for hours, which may explain the reduced number.

The images allowed the centre to draw the orbit of a total of 2,806 meteors on both nights. Drawing an orbit refers to the process of determining the orbital elements of the grain before it formed the meteor that was photographed.

The pictures below show the path of the meteors, the yellow indicated where it started and the white indicating where the path ended.

Meteors on Wednesday night
Meteors on Wednesday night
Meteors on Thursday night
Meteors on Thursday night

The stations analyse and determine the path and brightness of each meteor as soon as it is photographed and send it to US space agency Nasa.

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