Skies sparkle in Perseids meteor shower

Thousands take part in a number of science and environmental events as shooting stars decorate Israel's skies.

Meteor Shower (370) (photo credit: Itamar Hassan)
Meteor Shower (370)
(photo credit: Itamar Hassan)
A sparkling set of shooting stars decorated Israel’s skies during the late night hours between Sunday and Monday.
The Perseids meteor shower, which has occurred every summer for two millennia, began on approximately July 17 and will end August 24 this year.
The Zenithal Hourly Rate – the number of meteors an observer can see per hour during a dark, clear night – was expected to be 100 meteors per hour, with a velocity of 59 km. per second, according to according to Tel Aviv University Astronomy Club data.
A number of events were held to mark the shower, including an exploratory evening with the Bareket Observatory star observation team at Carmi Har-Hanegev Farm, on the edge of the Ramon Crater.
Activities at the Bareket event included a combination lecture and film presentation, training on star observation maps, observation through a sophisticated telescope and explanations about constellations with a special laser-guided celestial tour.
Meanwhile, the Society for the Protection of Nature presented an “Evening of Shooting Stars,” a celebratory night in honor of astronomy. 
Yet another event, called Stardust, occured at the Negev Desert Ashram, built on the ruins of what used to be the Shittim Nahal army outpost in the Arava.
Nir Lahav, a physics doctoral student at Bar-Ilan University, and Yoav Landsman, an aerospace engineer at Israel Aerospace Industries, lead discussions.