On 21-22 October the Earth will pass through the debris from Halley’s Comet as we orbit the Sun. The Comet itself won’t return to our skies until the year 2061 (its orbit is every 75/76 years through the solar system). The trail of Halley’s Comet is composed of fine particles of cosmic dust which burn up around 60km above the Earth’s surface. The result of this is a series of wonderful meteor showers which are visible twice per year (May and October). The October meteor shower is known as the Orionids.
From midnight onwards, we should be able to see up to 50 meteors per hour with the naked eye. Our collaborators at the deluxe desert camp at Erg Chigaga great dunes are hosting a unique ‘star-gazing’ event on 20-22 October, to coincide with the timing of the meteor showers.
For two nights at the great dunes, guests can enjoy night sky and star-gazing presentations from special guest, Ken Campbell. On each evening, Ken will make a presentation of about one hour focusing on our place in the universe and the birth of stars. Dinner will be served under the stars. After dinner Ken will provide one to one ‘tutoring’, guiding you around the constellations. Using our telescope you will be able to see the planet Mars as well as the rings of Saturn. Deep sky objects will be seen such as the Orion Nebula, the mysterious ring nebula and the stunning Pleiades star cluster. The dark sky environment will allow you to see fainter objects such as the Andromeda Galaxy 2.5 million light years away.
Even if you can’t make it to the deluxe desert camp event, it is certainly worth visiting the Erg Chigaga great dunes to take advantage of the desert skies at this time of year and to witness the shooting stars.
Please contact us for any further information about reaching the great dunes of Erg Chigaga with one of our tours.