UPDATED: On Sunday night, December 13th, The Geminid Meteor Shower Peaked.
The Geminids are considered to be one of the “best and most reliable” showers of the year with around 2 meteors per minute. This shower will be particularly easy to see thanks to the almost new moon, causing a dark enough sky to see all the meteors. Although you should be able to start seeing meteors at around 9-10pm, the peak is later in the night around 2am.
Where Do I Look?
Unlike the Perseids and Quadrantids, the Geminids can easily be viewed from both northern and southern hemispheres. The Geminids appear to come from the Gemini constellation, so you have a better chance of seeing it if you can locate where this is. Gemini is right near the Orion constellation, so try to spot his belt (made up of three stars) and you will be looking in the right area.
Try not to stare at a small area, make sure you are viewing a large piece of the sky.
Another thing to keep in mind is that your eyes need to adjust to the darkness to view the meteors, stay outside for 30 mins to let your eyes adjust. Avoid a phone or car headlight as this will make it harder to view. If you can’t avoid using your phone put the brightness very low.
Why Do Meteor Showers Happen?
A meteor shower is caused when Earth passes through debris left over from the disintegration of comets. The Geminids are actually coming from 3200 Phaethon; a small rocky/icy asteroid that orbits every 1.4 years.
Phaethon is brought closer to the sun than any other named asteroid due to its strong orbit.
Researchers believe the debris results from the heating and cooling of Phaethon’s surface based on its relative position to the sun. This causes expansion and contraction which fractures its surface, releasing fragments near the asteroid’s orbit. These are the debris causing this meteor shower.
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