Science

Geminid Meteor Shower 2018: Where and when to watch it peak tonight

Geminid Meteor Shower 2018: Where and when to watch it peak tonight”

A meteor is the flash of light in the night sky caused when a small chunk of interplanetary debris burns up as it passes through Earth's atmosphere. NASA also says the Geminids are the strongest shower of the year.

The rock comet 3200 Phaethon is the source of the meteor shower and is a rare blue asteroid which behaves like a comet. The first recorded observation was from a riverboat on the Mississippi River in 1833, and it's got more intense each year since. During the peak of the showers, there is the chance to see up to 120 meteors per hour.

Defined as the "best and most reliable" meteor shower of the year by NASA, the spectacular sky show is generated because of an asteroid named 3200 Phaethon.

The Geminid meteor shower will peak from midnight until daybreak on 13 and 14 December. The Geminids look like they're coming from the constellation Gemini, but it's actually fragments of an asteroid that intersects Earth's path.

The shower favors the northern hemisphere; in the southern hemisphere, the meteors' radiant point rises later, and is above the horizon for a relatively short period of time. The fact you'll see so much light is specifically because these objects are burning up in our atmosphere.

For a better view, get as far away from city lights as possible, face South, and keep in mind to dress warmly as you enjoy one of the greatest shows on - or above - earth, recommends Google. That's because, from our vantage point on the ground, the meteors seem to move more quickly as the Earth turns towards Gemini; during the earlier hours of the night, the meteors will appear longer and more sluggish. But they can show up anywhere in the sky, often with a stunning brilliance that makes them well worth hanging out in the cold.

For those in areas with low light pollution, no smog and clear skies, the Geminids are visible to the naked eye, with no specialist equipment needed.

"Green fireballs" are set to light up the sky this week, according to NASA, making it one of the best weeks for sky watching this year. The Geminid Meteor Shower a true spectacle and it's going to be at its best, brightest and clearest. Follow our tips at the bottom of the page to find the "best possible" view.



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