Monday night, the small desert town of Mitzpe Ramon in the Negev will be the place to be for anyone looking for a starry-eyed night. The Perseids Meteor shower - which occurs every year when dust and ice particles from the Swift-Tuttle comet burn up and enter the earth’s atmosphere - will peak on the night between August 12 and 13.
The impressive display of shooting stars - traveling at around 37 miles per second - will be visible throughout Israel. But the best seat in the house is in Mitzpe Ramon. Why? Because the town's local council turns out all the town’s lights, creating complete darkness and thus enabling optimal star-gazing.
As part of the meteor shower festival in town, there will be lectures on astronomy offered in the local soccer stadium, and guided observations throughout the night.
The Mitzpe Ramon regional council is in the process of being recognized by UNESCO as a “starlight reserve” – the only one in the Middle East – defined as an unpolluted area where natural night sky conditions can be preserved and protected.
Up to 150 meteors are expected to shoot across the sky per hour, with peak hours between 10:30 P.M. and 4:30 A.M.
According to NASA, the Perseid meteor shower will produce more sparkles across the sky than any other meteor shower in the world, earning it the title “fireball champion.” One of the best parts is that all you need is a blanket to lie on.
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