December’s terrific Geminid meteor shower is back. The highlight of any meteor year, Geminids are expected to peak starting tonight December 13-14 and are expected to be visible is full glory till December 17.
Geminids are a peculiar meteor shower because it is one of only two that do not arise from a parent comet. Discovered in 1983, Geminid meteor shower is the only one that has an asteroidal parent body called 3200 Phaethon. Like any meteor shower, the Geminids are named after the constellation from which they appear to radiate, in this case the Gemini.
First observed in mid-1800s, Geminid Meteors are growing in intensity ever since. While initial observations were around 10-20 meteors per hour, sky-gazers can currently catch around 150 per hour during peak, making it one of the major annual meteor showers. Geminids are also denser than Geminid Meteors arising from other showers, which enables them to come as close as 29 miles to Earth’s surface before they burn up.
ALSO READ: Elon Musk Named TIME’s ‘Person of the Year 2021,’ Critics slammed, Worst Choice; Read More
Geminids are expected to peak on December 14, and the best time window to watch them is between 01:00 am to 04:00 am. For sky-gazers in any part of the world, the peak time to view the Geminids would be around 02:00 am. In a good place, one can easily spot around 50 Geminids per hour.
People watching in the northern hemisphere (includes India) will be able to see more Geminids compared to people in the southern hemisphere. Look for a place with fewer trees and city lights. The showers will be visible from around 02:00 am and will continue being so after moon sets around 0:300 am till dawn.
Observe for at least an hour to ensure you see the maximum number of Geminid Meteors possible. The Geminid Meteor will be visible from the naked eye, so you don’t really need a telescope or a pair of binoculars.