Skies to sparkle in Perseids meteor shower

Tel Aviv University Astronomy Club says meteor shower expected to peak at 3 a.m. 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 will decorate 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. It will peak for Israel at approximately 3 a.m. on Monday, according to the Tel Aviv University Astronomy Club.
The Zenithal Hourly Rate – the number of meteors an observer can see per hour during a dark, clear night – is expected to be 100 meteors per hour, with a velocity of 59 km. per second, the Astronomy Club data said.
A number of events will be 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. While membership in the star club is free, the event will cost NIS 60 per participant, and will begin at 6 p.m. on Sunday and last through Monday’s sunrise.
Activities at the Bareket event will include 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 will present an “Evening of Shooting Stars,” a celebratory night in honor of astronomy. The event will begin at 7 p.m. at the Mitzpe Ramon soccer stadium, and lights in the region will be shut off accordingly.
Yet another event, called Stardust, will occur at the Negev Desert Ashram, built on the ruins of what used to be the Shittim Nahal army outpost in the Arava. For NIS 170, guests will be encouraged to connect with nature and view the meteor shower, as well as participate in meditation, movies and lectures on astronomy.
Nir Lahav, a physics doctoral student at Bar-Ilan University, and Yoav Landsman, an aerospace engineer at Israel Aerospace Industries, will lead discussions.
The evening, as the Ashram describes it, is slated to be a “breathtaking” one, in which shooting stars “illuminate and awaken the magical desert.”