No telescope or star chart? there is no problem. Even stargazers can feast their eyes on the Geminid meteor shower, a celestial sight that quickly lights up the night sky.
How can you see the 2020 Geminid meteor shower? when? And what is it actually? Find everything you need to know below.
What is a meteor?
A meteor shower is a collection of meteorites, streaks of light across the sky created by space debris – usually dust from a comet or asteroid – burning up in Earth’s atmosphere. Most meteorites are only the size of a grain of sand, but their high speed (about 66 km / s) ensures that they shine brightly.
Astronomers can thank a 5.7-mile-wide asteroid called ‘3200 Phaethon’ for the Geminid meteor shower. Specifically, they can thank the delicate rubble that separated from Phaethon as it flew close to Earth during its year and its five-month elliptical orbit through the solar system.
When will the next be Geminid meteor shower?
The Geminid meteor shower will peak from December 13-14, but you should be able to catch some of it anywhere between December 4 and 17.
When is the Geminid meteor shower down tonight in the UK?
Thanks to the new moon, several shooting stars will likely be visible throughout the night. However, you should be able to see the shower better when it peaks around 1am on December 14th.
How do I see the Geminid meteor shower?
Leave the speculum at home: For the largest field of vision, it is best to stare at Geminids with your eyes only. Although most meteorites will be launched from the constellation Gemini (and thus Gemini), they can be seen in all regions of the night sky. Note where the meteorites originated and you will be able to tell where Gemini is.
When searching for meteors, it is best to let your eyes adjust to the dark, and then look straight up. It can take up to 30 minutes to develop good night vision so try not to look at your phone in the meantime. Remember, Instagram will still be there when you’re done.
Stargazers can expect around 140-150 stars per hour. It will likely be bright and diverse in different colors – white, yellow, sometimes green, red and blue, if you are lucky.
What is the difference between meteors, comets and asteroids?
Although it is often used interchangeably (especially in bad science fiction), there are key differences:
- Meteors They are the parts of rocks and dusk that are separated from comets and asteroids. A meteor is what falls through the Earth’s atmosphere.
- Asteroids They are clumps of rocks orbiting the sun in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.
- CometsLike asteroids, they orbit the Sun. However, it is made of ice and dust instead of rock.