How To View The Geminid Meteor Shower

How To View The Geminid Meteor Shower”

This week, the skywatchers will experience a flashy double feature: The Geminid meteor shower - one of the year's best - will coincide with an unusually close encounter by an asteroid.

This year's Geminids meteor shower is predicted to provide a spectacular end to the year for keen skywatchers across Australia.

Since being discovered in the mid-1880s, the geminids have grown from 10 to 20 meteors an hour to upwards of 100.

"Depending on the time you observe and local light pollution, counts will vary", King said.

December's robust Geminids are known to throw as many as 120 bright meteors per hour and can be viewed during the evening hours as well as predawn.

Notably, the Geminids are also one of two meteor showers that come from what is believed to be an asteroid.

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"So don't be put off by the fact that you're waiting for five or so minutes and you still haven't seen a meteor". Sadly, clouds will be too thick for many of us to see the meteors.

The asteroid will appear in a slightly different part of the sky to the point from which the meteors radiate. It peaks just after 9pm Wednesday and lasts until dawn on December 14th. As the comet gets close to the sun, the ice melts a bit and releases tiny rocks. Every December, Earth passes through this stream of debris from 3200 Phaethon - once believed to be an asteroid and now considered an extinct, or iceless, comet.

"Phaethon's nature is debated", said Cooke. And with the moon appearing slim in the sky, the moonlight will not affect viewing.

If you are on the plains or far western and southern Colorado you may have a chance to see the meteors before the weather disturbance reaches you.

One of the best light shows of the entire year will be seen over South Florida beginning on Wednesday.

There are plenty of other lovely things to see in the December night sky, Dr Musgrave said.

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