When is the Geminid meteor shower this year? Date, time, location | Science | News

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Known to peak at more than 100 falling stars per hour, the Geminid meteor shower is a guaranteed spectacle for stargazers and amateur astronomers alike.

The breathtaking shower will peak this year on the chilly night of Wednesday December 13 and the morning of Thursday December 14.

But according to the Royal Observatory Greenwich (ROG), individual will still break out in the night sky between now and December 16.

How to watch the Geminid meteor shower

This year’s Geminid peak coincides with a waxing crescent moon which will boost your chances of seeing the shower in the night sky.

You can start to look for the shower around sunset, according to ROG, but the peak will occur in the early morning hours on Thursday. 

The observatory said: “Hunting for meteors, like the rest of astronomy, is a waiting 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 so there’s no need for binoculars or a telescope, though you will need to adjust your eyes to the dark.”

For the best viewing results, you should aim to stay away from bright sources of light such as houses or street lamps.


Geminids 2017: The Geminid meteor shower will peak over December 13 and December 14

What time will the Geminids appear in the sky?

According to , the best time to see the shower is during the night to pre-dawn hours when the Geminids are their most intense.

Hunting for meteors, like the rest of astronomy, is a waiting game, so it’s best to bring a comfy chair

Royal Observatory Greenwich

The American space agency said: “This shower is considered one of the best opportunities for young viewers since this shower starts around 9pm or 10pm.”

Adding: “Be patient – the show will last until dawn, so you have plenty of time to catch a glimpse.”

Where will the Geminids appear in the sky?

The Geminids will appear to burst our from their radiant point near the Gemini constellation. 

In the UK, you should be able to find Gemini by focusing your eyes on the eastern skies. The constellation is best identified by its two bright stars, Castor and Pollux.

But the good news is that this is mostly irrelevant because the meteors will streak across the entire sky once they appear.

ROG advised: “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.”

The meteors should be visible across the entire globe because they have a broad 24-hour spectrum of activity.

Geminids 2017 meteor shower date time locationGETTY

Geminids 2017: Astronomers have noted that the shower intensifies every year

What are the Geminid meteors?

Unlike many of the other notorious meteor showers, the Geminids are not the cosmic remnants of a speeding comet, but rather asteroid 3200 Phaethon. 

The difference being that asteroids are largely made up of metals and rocky materials, as opposed to ice and rock.

The Geminids are also of particular interest to astronomers because every year they appear to be intensifying in force.

The shower was first discovered in the mid-1880s, and has since grown from 10-20 meteors during the peak up to 120 an hour. 

Astronomers believed this is caused by Jupiter’s gravitational waves pulling 3200 Phaethon closer to Earth every year.

ROG said: “The meteors are very bright, moderately fast, and are unusual in being multi-coloured – mainly white, some yellow and a few green, red and blue. 

“These colours are partly caused by the presence of traces of metals like sodium and calcium, the same effect that is used to make fireworks colourful.”

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