Geminid Meteor Shower
It’s time to watch one of the most active and spectacular meteor showers of the year. The Geminid meteor shower, also known as the 'king of the meteor showers' peaks on December 13-14. Here's what to expect.
The famous Geminid meteor shower runs from December 4 to 16 annually. This shower will peak on the night of December 13-14. At the peak, observers can expect to see up to 120 meteors per hour under dark sky conditions. The Geminids meteors are often bright, intensely coloured, and slower moving than average because they are produced by particles dropped by an asteroid designated 3200 Phaethon.
The best time to watch for Geminids will be after midnight – but you can start looking for them after full evening darkness sets in. The shower's radiant point is positioned near the bright star Castor in the constellation of Gemini (the Twins). To identify the radiant in the sky above your location, use the stargazing app Star Walk 2. True Geminids will travel away from that part of the sky, but don’t just watch that location – the meteors will be shortest there, and they can appear anywhere in the sky.
To see the most meteors, find a wide-open, dark location, preferably away from light polluted skies, and just look up with your unaided eyes. Binoculars and telescopes are not useful for meteors – their field of view are too narrow. If the peak night is cloudy, a few nights on either side of that date will be almost as good. Unfortunately, a nearly full moon on the peak night will overwhelm the part of the meteors this year, but you can head outside on a clear evening earlier to catch a few while the moonlight is less intense.