The Geminid meteor shower peaks Sunday night (13 December), providing a great opportunity to witness the best meteor shower of the year. A meteor suddenly streaking across the sky is one of the most exciting sights in astronomy, but we can multiply that many times over by the assured prospect of dozens of shooting stars raining down from the Geminids over the course of the night! There’s even more good news as the show won’t be compromised by bright moonlight as it was in 2019, as the Moon is just hours away from its new phase.
A composite image showing Geminid meteors captured in 2019. Image: Arthur Fentaman.
Rates of meteors are predicted to reach a maximum at around 1am on 14 December, when the constellation of Gemini is well placed high up in the sky to the south. As many as 60–70 meteors per hour can be seen from the UK under clear and transparent skies, provided you are fortunate enough to enjoy dark skies where you live or can find a suitable observing site away from major sources of light pollution.
Meteor showers are seen when Earth encounters minuscule particles left behind usually by periodic comets; some of ...