The Geminids Meteor Shower Peaks Tonight And It Should Be Spectacular
Mother Nature's gearing up for a big one tonight and she's calling in backup from the cosmos.
We're talking about the Geminid Meteor shower, an annual astronomical display that's been visible from our planet every December for more than 200 years.
This year, the Geminids - widely considered to be one of the most spectacular and reliable meteor showers of the year - is set to light up the skies this weekend.
Astronomy says that the shower peaks on the night of 13 December, running into the early morning of 14 December. During this time, there's the possibility of sighting over 120 meteors per hour across all parts of the sky.
The Geminid Meteor shower occurs when the planet passes through the orbit of Phaethon, causing small grains of dust to blaze through our atmosphere at about 80,000 miles per hour. As these brightly disintegrate along the way, they create what we know to be shooting stars.
The Met Office said: "The Geminids is different to other meteor showers as Geminid meteors originate from an asteroid, as opposed to a comet, meaning they are very rocky and gritty, making them slightly easier to see than other showers."
While the showers are easier to see, as is always the case with these things, to get a decent view you'll need to find somewhere away from light pollution. So if you're in a busy city, try to get to some country area in the outskirts if you can.
And when it comes to the Geminids, although the meteors appear to originate from the Gemini constellation, they're visible from all parts of the sky - so it's good to be in a wide open space where you can scan the night sky with your eyes.
Open spaces away from street lights or other forms of light pollution are the best conditions during a meteor shower - but don't forget to wrap up warm and be aware that there are often spaces of inactivity between sightings.
So now you're all set - get out there are enjoy the celestial showstopper we've been waiting all year for. You're sure to be dazzled.
Featured Image Credit: PA