December is bringing with it two meteor showers. First up there’s the Geminids, which will begin on the evening of Monday, December 13th and peak later on in the evening until early morning on Tuesday. Under perfect conditions, this meteor shower can offer up to 150 meteors per hour, although the bright moon will reduce visibility a little this year dropping the number of ones you’ll actually be able to see down a little.
The second is the Ursids, which arrives about a week alter and is expected to peak during the Winter Solstice on December 21st until the 23nd. This one doesn’t tend to get a lot of attention, due to the fact that it only brings with it around 10 meteors per hour and they’re not easily visible until the early morning hours.
According to EarthSky, the Geminids will peak around 2am local time on Tuesday, December 14th, where you might catch up to around 50 meteors per hour. Of course, this will depend on how far away you can get from light pollution, too – not to mention potential cloud cover – but if you can get to somewhere really dark, you should get a pretty decent show, despite the waxing gibbous moon.
The Ursids, on the other hand, appears annually between about December 17th and December 24th with a peak usually around the 23rd. This year, it’s expected to peak in the early morning hours of December 22nd, where you’ll see up to about 10 meteors per hour. Of course, with the full moon being December 19th, it’ll still be fairly big in the sky. So the night time show might not be quite as exciting as you might hope even if you’re able to get to somewhere with a cloudless sky that’s far from artificial light pollution.
If you miss both of these, though, the Quadrantids – the first meteor shower of 2022 – come on the night of January 2nd. This, too, typically doesn’t feature many meteors, bringing around 20-30 per hour, although the sky should be much darker due to the New Moon on January 2nd. So, while it might not generally be quite as active as the Geminids, you might actually spot more meteors flying through the sky.
Find out more about all three: