Wednesday, 26 June, 2019

Geminid Meteor Shower 2018: When and How to Watch

The radiant location for the 2018 Geminids. Credit The American Meteor Society The radiant location for the 2018 Geminids. Credit The American Meteor Society
Sandra Phillips | 14 December, 2018, 17:54

According to Astronomy Ireland, as earth moves through clouds of dust leftover from comets, the particles fall into our atmosphere and burn up, creating a streak of light in the sky known as meteors- or more commonly, shooting stars. Moving at about 79,000 miles per hour, the Geminids can look as bright as planet Venus, according to USA Today. The meteors can appear all across the sky, but they'll appear to be flying away from the area of the bright star Castor in the Gemini constellation.

Unfortunately, you might struggle to see the display though across many parts of Australia with bad weather on the way this weekend.

While observers will need a pair of binoculars or a telescope to catch the Christmas Comet, the meteor shower will be visible from anywhere in Australia, even major cities, so long as it's a clear night.

It's the most wonderful time of the year. A meteor flash is seen here with an aurora borealis shimmer in Norway.

For a better view, get as far away from city lights as possible, face South, and do not forget to dress warmly as you enjoy one of the greatest shows on - or above - earth, recommends Google.

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In another 24 hours, the world will start witnessing the much-anticipated Geminid meteor shower dazzling through the sky.

To best enjoy the show NASA recommends that people find a very dark spot and give their eyes 30 minutes to adjust to the dark. This meteor shower happens every year, but NASA has identified the two days that your family should watch it.

The shower could still be visible Friday evening. It could be either a near-Earth asteroid or an extinct comet, sometimes called a rock comet. "As the night progresses, the Geminid rate will increase, hitting a theoretical maximum of about 100 per hour around 2 a.m".

The meteor shower that occurs every year is brought to the Earth's atmosphere by an asteroid called Phaethon which was discovered by a satellite 35 years ago.

If you're looking at the sky on Thursday or Friday, try looking for a green light in the Taurus constellation as well. According to NASA, Wirtanen could look as bright as a star in the Little Dipper's handle. That will be Comet 46P/Wirtanen, which is making its closest approach to Earth - within 7 million miles - for the next 20 years.

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