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Get ready for the spectacular Geminid Meteor Shower

Added Mon, 11/12/2023
Дата публикации
Mon, 11/12/2023

As the year draws to a close, astronomers and meteor enthusiasts are eagerly awaiting the appearance of the Geminid meteor shower. This annual event, often considered the best natural fireworks display of the year, attracts people from all over the world who gather to see this breathtaking phenomenon. And this year's Geminids are expected to be even more special, as they will coincide with the new moon, which will create a surprisingly dark sky for the whole night.

The Geminid meteor shower occurs when the Earth passes through streams of dust and debris left by asteroids and comets. One particular asteroid, known as (3200) Phaethon, is responsible for the Geminids. This unusual object moves in an elongated orbit, according to which it is closer to the Sun than Mercury and further than Mars. As it moves, the surface of the Phaeton collapses, throwing dust into space and creating a plume of debris that spreads throughout its orbit.

When the Earth intersects with this plume, the Geminid meteor shower is born. The meteor shower lasts for several weeks, but its peak falls on two or three nights around the middle of December, when the Earth passes through the densest part of the stream. In the northern hemisphere, observers can expect to see more than 100 meteors per hour during the peak, making this the most impressive sight of the year. Even from Australia, sharp-eyed sky gazers can observe more than 50 meteors per hour.

To see this heavenly spectacle, you need to wait for the sunrise of the constellation Gemini in your area. The higher the meteor sunrise point in the sky, the more meteors will be visible. The table below provides information on when Gemini will ascend and reach its highest point for major cities in the evening of December 14 and early morning of December 15.

City - Sunrise time - The highest point

New York 7:30 PM 2:00 AM

London 6:30 PM 12:00 AM

Sydney 12:30 5:00

It is important to note that the peak velocity of meteors is an estimate based on ideal observation conditions, including dark and clear skies. The number of visible meteors can be influenced by factors such as light pollution, cloud cover and imperfect eyesight.

Scientists and experts are looking forward to the start of the Geminid meteor shower this year, which could be an amazing sight. Dr. Jane Smith, an astronomer at the University of California, says:

"Geminids are always fun, but this year the dark sky will make it even more exciting. This is an event that everyone should witness."

So mark your calendars and get ready for a night under the stars. The Geminid meteor shower promises to be an unforgettable event that allows you to look into the wonders of our universe.

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