Oman


Supermoon mars annual meteor fireball showers in Oman


A bright sky due to the Supermoon yesterday spoiled the visual treat which accompanies the annual Preseids meteor shower show. Photo supplied

Muscat: Sky gazers in Oman were disappointed as a bright moon spoiled the fun of watching annual Preseids meteor shower Tuesday early morning, a PDO planetarium curator said.

"As it was just two days after Supermoon, the sky was not dark enough to enjoy the spectacular fireball fall," Suleiman Al Busaidi, the curator said.

"At least 100 meteor fall was expected to be visible during yesterday's annual show. But a bright sky due to the Supermoon spoiled everything," Suleiman, who is also the board member of Oman Astronomical Society, said.

The Perseids begin to light up the skies in mid-July and should last until August 24. But the most intense showers were late on Tuesday evening and into the early hours of Wednesday morning before sunrise.

"In Oman, for one week from yesterday, we will be able to watch it. There is no need of a telescope or other equipment to watch it. But Supermoon will be a challenge. Even if you're somewhere really dark, the moon will be up and it will make it harder to see the fainter streaks," Suleiman added.

On Sunday, the moon was 14 per cent bigger and 30 per cent brighter than normal, making it a Supermoon and spoiling Tuesday's show.

The Perseids, which peak during mid-August, are considered to be the best meteor shower of the year. With very fast and bright meteors, Perseids frequently leave long "wakes" of light and colour behind them as they streak through the Earth's atmosphere.

The Perseids are one of the most plentiful showers (50-100 meteors seen per hour) and occurs during warm summer night time weather, allowing sky watchers to easily view the shower.

Perseids are also known for their fireballs. Fireballs are larger explosions of light and colour that can persist longer than an average meteor streak. This is due to the fact that fireballs originate from larger particles of cometary material. Fireballs are also brighter, with magnitudes brighter than -3.

"Last year, we were able to enjoy the Perseids show in a much better way," the curator added.

To get in touch with the reporter reji@timesofoman.com

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