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Israel is about to see some meteor showers – here’s where

CM 29/07/2021

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What could be more romantic than a picnic out in nature? Well, I’ll tell you: a picnic out in nature while watching a meteor shower light up the sky. So get your picnic blankets ready, chill your wine and pack a bag with lots of tasty treats, because August is the time when we can see spectacular displays of meteor showers in the heavens above us. 

August Perseid meteor shower

On the night between Thursday and Friday (August 12-13), the annual Perseid meteor shower will reach its peak. The public is welcome to take part in a number of festivals and events celebrating this annual event. These meteor showers – which come from streams of debris left behind in space by comets – typically last weeks, not days, with the optimal time to catch them being between August 8-15. Preparing to watch this once-a-year spectacle is a great excuse to disconnect from our mobile phones, find a comfortable position, lay back, watch and wait.
During the dazzling August Perseid meteor shower, you will see debris coming from the comet Swift–Tuttle. Although you should be able to see the meteor shower from any darkened spot, many people like to get out of the city and into nature in order to avoid city lighting and the air pollution

As in past years, there will be a variety of activities open to astronomy enthusiasts and anyone who is just plain curious about understanding a little more of this magical natural phenomenon that paints the sky every August. 

1. Mitzpe Ramon Spice Quarter

 Lighting up the night in Tel Arad (photographer: GAL BISMUT) Lighting up the night in Tel Arad (photographer: GAL BISMUT)
The meteor showers can be seen from every spot around the country, but there’s no doubt that Mitzpe Ramon is one of the most perfect settings for star gazing. In fact, the city shuts off all the lights in the city for a few nights in August every year in an effort to increase the visibility of the meteor showers. In addition, the Israel Space Agency, in cooperation with the Science and Technology Ministry, will hold its annual meteor-watching evenings. On the evenings of August 11 & 12, there will be lots of activity in the Mitzpe Ramon Spice Quarter, including astronomy workshops for NIS 15 per person (from age 3, pre-registration required). Starting at 6 p.m., visitors are invited to join an interactive mobile-space game in a number of locations in the Spice Quarter. In addition, guests of all ages can listen to engaging talks about space and astronomy. 
Everyone is also invited to enter the industrial hangars at the site where all year round, high schools with arts programs operate restaurants, a pub, a desert bakery, a second-hand shop, galleries and cafés. During the weeks of the meteor showers, visitors can buy crafts at the fair, watch street artists, listen to live music, as well as watch a video screening of the stars in the sky. 
Dates: August 11-12
Location: Mitzpe Ramon Spice Quarter
Price: NIS 15
Details: www.space.gov.il/activities-and-events/132472 

2. Arava

 Stargazing and looking for meteor showers in the Arava, Israel (photographer: Yotam Ben Yaakov) Stargazing and looking for meteor showers in the Arava, Israel (photographer: Yotam Ben Yaakov)
On the night between August 11-12 and the night between August 13-14, the Hatzeva Field School of the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel will hold activities celebrating the spectacular August Perseid meteor shower. There will be arts-and-crafts activities and sundial games for children in and around the clubhouse. At sunset, dinner will be served, then everyone will be offered a look at the stars in the sky through the telescope, hear a short lecture, sit around the campfire, bake pita bread, drink hot tea, hear stories about the stars and participate in a quiz. The morning after, visitors are invited to join a guided tour through the water of Ein Bokek. 
Dates: August 11-12 and 13-14
Location: Hatzeva Field School

3. Khan Nahal Arava

On Wednesday August 11 and Thursday August 12, the public is invited to the Khan Nahal Arava in Moshav Hatzeva. Families are invited to come and embark on a journey to infinity and beyond. Activities include stargazing through a telescope, watching performances geared toward the whole family, engaging with actors in costume, singing around a campfire, drinking tea, eating sweet dates, basket-weaving and sand tours. 
Participants must wear closed hiking shoes with ankle support. Guests are welcome to bring mats to sit on and musical instruments to play around the bonfire. 
Dates: August 11-13, starting each evening at 7:30 p.m.
Location: Khan Nahal Arava
Price: Adults NIS 90; ages 2-14 NIS 60
Details and registration: dagoarava.co.il/2021-white-nights

4. Yeruham Lake

 Stargazing and looking for meteor showers in Yeruham Lake, Israel (photographer: Simon Ben Yishai) Stargazing and looking for meteor showers in Yeruham Lake, Israel (photographer: Simon Ben Yishai)
 Stargazing and looking for meteor showers in Yeruham Lake, Israel (photographer: MORDECHAI GORDON) Stargazing and looking for meteor showers in Yeruham Lake, Israel (photographer: MORDECHAI GORDON)
The Yeruham Economic Development Company and the Yeruham Tourism Association will be holding a special event on the night of August 11 at Yeruham Lake. Visitors are invited to view the planets through telescopes, listen to educators expound upon the constellations and what happens during a meteor shower. There will be special tours for children, as well as a night safari tour. 
In addition, visitors will learn how to locate the North Star and its importance. Guides will teach about zodiac constellations and the Comet Swift–Tuttle and the August Perseids meteor shower.
Pre-registration required, number of participants is limited. Appropriate for children from age 3.
Date: August 11
Location: Khan Nahal Arava
Price: NIS 40-NIS 50
Details: (054) 665-6512

5. Kochav HaYarden 

What are the August Perseids? What is a light-year? Where is the Milky Way located? At the Kochav HaYarden National Park, you are invited to lie down on your back and enjoy the natural meteor show. Kochav HaYarden is especially dark, making it one of the best places in northern Israel from which to view the meteor showers. Expert guides will help you get to know this faraway world that is light years away from us. Visitors can gaze through a telescope, listen to a lecture about light pollution, or tour around the fortress. Participants must come in closed shoes and should bring warm clothing, and bring chairs, mattresses, pillows or picnic blankets to sit on. 
Activities are free of charge, upon payment of regular entrance fee. Matmon subscribers get in for free. Visitors are welcome to book a spot in the camping site, which is available for a fee. Pre-registration required. 
Date: August 12, 7:30 p.m.-11:30 p.m.
Location: Kochav HaYarden

6. Herodion National Park

King Herod challenged the forces of nature when he built the Herodian palace and fortress more than 2,000 years ago. Now the public is welcome to climb up to the summit of this site that borders the Judean Desert to enjoy an unparalleled view into space. On August 30, Herodion National Park will be organizing a special “Big Bear” trek to the stars, including star-gazing through telescopes, laser pointers and distinctive binoculars. Guests are also welcome to enter the Royal Room exhibit, climb up hundreds of stairs, walk through the magnificent hall of arches and meander through the ancient cistern. Activities are free of charge, upon payment of regular entrance fee. Matmon subscribers get in for free. 
Date: Monday, August 30, 8-11 p.m. 
Location: Herodion National Park
Translated by Hannah Hochner.

Source: Jerusalem Post

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