“This year, there will be more than 1 per minute, reaching 100 meteors per hour. Under light-polluted skies, fewer meteors will be visible,” according to Space.com.
When to watch
The best time to see the meteors will be around 2 a.m. local time and because the moon will set around midnight, there will not be any moonlight to interfere with the meteor show. However, they can be seen as early as 9 p.m.
The Geminid meteors appear to radiate from near the star Castor, which is in the constellation Gemini. The shower can produce multi-coloured flashes, with white, yellow, blue, green and red visible.
What is so special about the Geminids asteroids is that these are not created from the debris of a comet. the meteor showers is caused by the object 3200 Phaethon, which is thought to be a Palladian asteroid with a “rock comet” orbit. This would make the Geminids, together with the Quadrantids, the only major meteor showers not originating from a comet.
Its particles hit the Earth’s atmosphere at about 22miles per second, burning up and creating the flare we see as the shooting star or meteor shower!
Widely considered to be one of the best meteor showers of the year, the Geminids meteor shower peaks tonight (December 13th/14th). Sky watchers will brave the cold to catch this spectacular display. The meteors will be noticeable as ‘shooting stars’ across the sky. and weather permitting, should be noticeable for the next few weeks.
“Hunting for meteors, like the rest of astronomy, is awaiting game, so it’s best to bring a comfy chair to sit on and to wrap up warm as you could be outside for a while. They can be seen with the naked eye sot here’s no need for binoculars or a telescope, though you will need to allow your eyes to adjust to the dark,” said advice from the Royal Observatory.
Advice from the Royal Observatory said: “For the best conditions, you want to find a safe location away from street lights and other sources of light pollution.
“The meteors can be seen in all parts of the sky, so it’s good to be in a wide open space where you can scan the night sky with your eyes. But if you trace the paths that the meteors take, they seem to originate from the Gemini constellation.”
Bottom line: Meteor showers are part of nature and so inherently unpredictable. But the reliable Geminid shower counts as one of the year’s best, peppering the nighttime sky with 50-120 meteors per hour at its peak.
There was big excitement about 3200 Phaethon in 2017, because this object was exceedingly nearby around nights of the Geminid meteor shower’s peak. It swept to within 6.4 millionmiles (10.3 million km, 26 lunar-distances) on December 16, 2017. In 2018, 2300 Phaethon is much farther away.
You don’t need any special equipment to view the meteors, just try to get as far away from man-made light as possible and look up!