Published: Thu, December 07, 2017
Science | By Hubert Green

Really bright Geminid meteor shower could be coming

Really bright Geminid meteor shower could be coming

Geminids are the slowpokes of the meteor world.

The Geminids are known as particularly bright meteors, especially when they flash across dark night skies, which December 13-14 should be this year.

The Geminids are probably the best meteor shower of the year-often exceeding the Perseids in August and the Leonids in November.

The meteors appear to radiate from the constellation Gemini, which rises around sunset and climbs almost overhead by 2 a.m.

Mr Magro's final tip for this year's event was to make sure you give yourself plenty of time to prepare, even if you are just planning on watching the shower.

Local astronomer, Mr Andrew Murrell, will also be at the workshop to share stories of the night sky and solar system, and will have a giant Dobsonian Telescope on hand for an unforgettable view of the meteor show.

Why is this year so favorable for the Geminids? The thin crescent Moon does not rise until 3:57 a.m. Thursday and will not interfere with the meteor shower.

The other reason why this year is astronomically favorable for the see the Geminids is the exact timing of Earth's encounter with the central section of the meteoroid swarm.

According to Time and Date, the shower will reach its peak the night of Wednesday, Dec. 13 into the early morning hours of Thursday, Dec. 14. You'll be able to see meteors anywhere you look, but concentrating your attention on that constellation means you'll see more of them.

With the moon but a slender wisp, conditions could hardly be better for this year's premier shower. That being said, you'll have to temper your expectations according to where you live; the light pollution in cities can impede visibility considerably, with numbers dwindling to around 10-15 per hour.

The stars - or at least the Moon - will align this month for a terrific display of meteors.

In the early evening, about 5:30 to 7 p.m., the radiant in Gemini is still low, so not that many meteors will be visible.

An hour or so before sunrise on December 13, the crescent moon is just above the now dim planet Mars, with Jupiter well to the lower left.

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