Being born and raised in Wadi Rum desert where artificial light is rare we are used to dark nights. Due to our arid desert climate, we have clear skies most of the year. As night falls the sky turn black. A vast, dark canopy with thousands of stars shining their light on us. Especially in the days before and after new moon, the starry night sky is absolutely stunning. To us, this is an ‘ordinary’ but beautiful sight. Every now and then when we watch the stars we see a shooting star. In August, November and December during the meteor showers of Perseid, Leonid and Geminid we can see up to tens of shooting star per hour. A spectacular phenomenon of nature. In this blog, we tell you about shooting stars and why you should watch shooting stars in Wadi Rum desert.
Most common misconception about shooting stars
The most common misconception about shooting stars is that they are related to stars. Besides sharing the name there is no connection at all. Stars are quite far away from earth. It is not likely to one will ever reach our planet at all. Shooting stars are in fact meteors. Space dust and rocks that originating from asteroids and comets. The dust or rock enters our atmosphere at a very high speed. The resistance of our atmosphere heats the rock rapidly. The bright streak is actually not the rock burning. But the glowing hot air as the hot rock passed through the atmosphere.
What is a meteor shower?
Comets and asteroids orbit the sun. Just like our planet does. Planets have a nearly circular orbit. Comets and asteroids have a more lop-sided orbit. As they get closer to the sun some of its surface boils off. The released dust and rock strews along with the comet or asteroid. When our planet passes through these orbits dust and rocks enter our atmosphere causing meteor showers.
Wishing on a star
Every culture and religion around the world has its own legends or beliefs about shooting stars. To some, they are gods, in others angels, fairies or ancestors. Some believe shooting stars represent an omen. Others believe shooting stars are the gods contacting us. Astrologers think that the stars govern our lives. We Bedouins are Muslims. We believe shooting stars protect from ear dropping jinns.
Most legends and beliefs assume that shooting stars have to do with some kind of supernatural power. When people wish upon a star they hope that the supernatural power hears their wish and makes it come true.