Muscat: Residents in Oman can enjoy the stunning Perseid meteor shower this weekend, as the Sultanate's summer skies are to be lit up by this dramatic cosmic display on the night of Saturday, the 12th of August.
The best chance for residents to catch these astronomical fireworks would be between 9 pm on Saturday, and 1 am the next day.
Ali Al Shaibani, an Omani astronomer, was on hand to describe what caused the Perseid meteor shower, which takes place between the 17th of July and 24th of August.
"This happens every year at the same time, because a lot of dust traditionally enters the Earth's atmosphere, and this leads to a cosmic effect which attracts these meteorites towards the planet, but there is no harm to anyone," he explained.
"The best place to catch this would be somewhere like Jabal Akhdar or Jabal Shams, or any area where there is not a lot of light, so that you can see these easily," added Al Shaibani. "Many people use telescopes to see these meteorites, but you can see them quite clearly with the naked eye as well."
Although the Perseid meteor shower normally featured about 80 to 100 meteorites falling every hour, at the rate of about 60km per second, that number is expected to halve this year, as the brightness of the moon will throw some of them off course, causing them instead to collide with the moon.
"This is a nice time of the year to watch these meteorites, and it will be a good thing to do this weekend," added Al Shabani. "I ask all residents to look to the north east, once they are on high ground, because that is the direction from which the Perseid shower will originate."
The meteor shower is the second astronomical phenomenon that residents in Oman will be able to enjoy this week: last Monday, a partial lunar eclipse was also visible to residents in the Sultanate.