Sky-gazers flock to desert town to watch annual meteor light show
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Sky-gazers flock to desert town to watch annual meteor light show

Astronomers and star-lovers head to Mitzpeh Ramon for Perseid meteor show

A Perseid meteor streaking across the California sky in 2010 (photo credit: CC-BY-SA  Ian Alexander Norman, Flickr)
A Perseid meteor streaking across the California sky in 2010 (photo credit: CC-BY-SA Ian Alexander Norman, Flickr)

Hundreds of Israelis converged on the isolated town of Mitzpeh Ramon Saturday night to witness the Persied meteor shower shooting across the black sky.

The town, which lies at the edge of the Ramon crater in the middle of the Negev desert, and offers some of the best views of the night sky in the country, played host to star gazers of every type, from professional astronomers to lay sky watchers.

“I love astronomy,” Gershon Berkowitz from Petah Tikva told Ynet news. “I was also here two years ago, when you get here at first under the dome of the sky, you can look up and see the sky filled with stars and not miss a thing. In the center of the country it’s very hard to see this.”

Mitzpeh ramon, on the desert's edge. (photo credit: Doron Horowitz/Flash90)
Mitzpeh Ramon, on the desert’s edge. (photo credit: Doron Horowitz/Flash90)

The annual Persied meteor shower, which occurs as the earth passes through the debris of the Swift-Tuttle comet, peaked this year on Saturday night, with as much as 50 shooting stars visible per hour.

The shower is also expected to be visible on Sunday night.

Much of Israel suffers from light pollution, as the tiny country has little true wilderness away from civilization. The Negev desert in the country’s south is mostly free from habitation and Mitzpeh Ramon, on the edge of the wilderness, has become a favorite spot for local star-watchers.

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