Star gazers around the world have a spectacular celestial treat in store when the Geminid Meteor Shower starts tomorrow. The extraterrestrial light show can easily be seen by gazing northeast from the late evening into the predawn hours. The best views of the Geminid Meteor Shower will be from the dark areas, away from light pollution.
Named after the bright constellation of Gemini from which they seem to radiate, the Geminids are active from Tuesday December 4 until Monday, December 17.
Your eyes may take a while to adjust to the dark.
Make sure you are appropriately dressed for the cold – meteor watching can be a waiting game.
It is recommended you lie on the ground and look up in the direction of the radiant.
“The peak lasts for a full 24 hours, meaning meteor watchers around the globe will get to see this spectacle,” says Houston Jones of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
“Expect to see up to 120 meteors per hour from a dark sky location but only after the first quarter moon sets around midnight your local time.”
In fact, the Geminids are one of only two meteor showers produced by an asteroid.
The 3200 Phaethon asteroid is believed to have collided with another object sometime in its distant past.
That dramatic encounter has left behind a trail of debris in it is wake.
And it is this which interacts with Earth’s upper atmosphere each year and burns up in the process, streaking across the sky as shooting stars.