UAE: First major meteor shower of 2023 to take place on January 3

Skygazers will not need any special equipment or skills to view the celestial phenomenon; only a clear sky and a secluded viewing spot away from city lights


Lamya Tawfik

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Published: Wed 28 Dec 2022, 5:28 PM

Last updated: Wed 28 Dec 2022, 5:50 PM

Just a few days into 2023, the skies are all set to have their very own celebration. Following the spectacular Geminids Meteor Shower, UAE residents can turn their gaze to the sky on January 3 to enjoy the Quadrantids Meteor Shower.

According to the Dubai Astronomy Group, the meteor shower – the first major one of the year – is also one of the most intense meteor showers to view. It is among the strongest and most consistent, and its intensity could reach a maximum rate of 110 meteors per hour on a clear night. While it will continue till January 5, the shower will be at its strongest peak on the night of January 3-4.

“This will be visible from anywhere in the UAE; all you need is a dark location and you should be able to see it,” said Sheeraz Ahmad Awan, General Manager of Dubai Astronomy Group, adding, “We have been a tad bit unlucky with the meteor showers over the last few months because one of the biggest light pollutants of the night sky is the moon, and on that day, the moon will be rising later in the night.” While he said that it will not be as bright as a full moon, he said it will be there, so visibility will decrease a bit.

The Dubai Astronomy Group will be organising a trip on the day from 11 pm to 4 am for sky gazers wishing to enjoy the meteor shower, but Sheeraz said that if someone wanted to see it on their own in a dark area, they can still do that. “We will be going to Al Qudra and we will be observing the night sky from there but we will also be talking about the meteor shower phenomena,” he said. The group will also bring along telescopes so that participants can observe other celestial entities such as the moon, Mars and Saturn.

Meteors are pieces of debris that enter our planet’s atmosphere at speeds of up to 70 kilometres per second, vaporising and causing the streaks of light we call meteors.

The Quadrantids is known for its sharp peak of a few hours, and the meteors appear to radiate from the constellation Boötes, near the Big Dipper. In 2004, astronomer Peter Jenniskens concluded that the Quadrantids meteors are the debris of an object called 2003 EH1 – although no one is quite sure what it is.

It may be the core of a dead comet, or a “rock comet" – an asteroid that crackles and breaks down to dust as it bakes while passing close to the Sun.

Dubai Astronomy Group CEO Hasan Al Hariri said people don’t need any special equipment or skills to view a meteor shower. All that is needed is a clear sky and a secluded viewing spot away from the city lights. Bring something to keep warm as it can get really cold, and plan to lay back in comfort, and look upward.


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